Forget your stereotypes: Memory inhibition as a tool to change attitudes

Detta är en Kandidat-uppsats från Lunds universitet/Institutionen för psykologi

Sammanfattning: In this study we investigated if stereotype conceptions against groups of people can be suppressed by retrieval practice and thereby affect implicit associations. Previous research of retrieval-induced forgetting has shown that interfering memories are inhibited and weakened by retrieval practice. Our hypothesis was that retrieval practice of features incongruent to a stereotype would cause memory inhibition of congruent interfering features and also a reduction of implicit associations. To induce memory suppression, we applied the retrieval-practice paradigm, the stimuli used for retrieval practice was groups of people as categories and stereotype features as items. To measure implicit associations, an Implicit Association Test was used. Our results showed that retrieval practice with social stimuli successfully induced a significant memory impairment but not a significant reduction of implicit associations. Based on the result, we discussed the possibility that retrieval of positive features could be a more effective method to reduce stereotypes than suppression of negative features. For future research within retrieval practice, we suggested an investigation of how pre-understanding of a stereotype could affect memory impairment. And for implicit associations, how susceptibility to reduction of implicit associations would differ between stereotypes or depend on a successful memory impairment.

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