The Power of the Unsaid: The Influence of Nonverbal Cues on Implicit Attitudes


Luigi Castelli, DPSS–Via Venezia 8, 35131 Padova, Italy. E-mail:


Attitudes are often shaped through social influence processes. We examined how observation of nonverbal behaviors can impact on implicit and explicit racial attitudes. In Study 1, participants observed an interracial interaction in which a White actor expressed friendly or unfriendly nonverbal behaviors toward a Black target (e.g., low eye contact, large seating distance). The results show that newly formed implicit attitudes toward the Black actor were shaped accordingly. In Study 2, participants were required to read a passage containing stereotypical contents against Black people while a confederate either remained neutral or expressed her approval (e.g., nodding). Implicit attitudes toward Black people became more negative in the latter condition. The results confirm the power of nonverbal cues in shaping implicit attitudes.