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Implicit Consistency Processes in Social Cognition: Explicit-Implicit Discrepancies Across Systems of Evaluation



What happens when our automatic evaluations conflict with our attitudes that we can reflect on and articulate? In this paper, we review some processes by which explicit implicit evaluative discrepancies (EIEDs) arise and can impact our thoughts, feelings, and behavior, using a dual-systems perspective on attitudes to explain the psychological processes underlying these evaluative inconsistencies. EIEDs emerge when differential positive and negative evaluations toward attitude objects reside in systems of knowledge governed by language and reasoning (i.e., explicit evaluations) and systems of knowledge that are association-based (i.e., implicit evaluations). We discuss factors that produce EIEDs, including the influence of extrapersonal associations on attitudes, temporal, and qualitative differences in encountering attitude-relevant information, and the differential influence of processing goals. Finally, we discuss consequences of holding EIEDs, including their impact on behaviors toward attitude objects, enhanced elaboration and scrutiny of social information, motivated reasoning, errant affective forecasting, and self-regulatory success and failure.