Easier done than undone ... by some of the people, some of the time: The role of elaboration in explicit and implicit group preferences

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Evidence suggests that while explicit evaluations of others are easily formed and equally easily changed, implicit evaluations are more intransigent. The present research investigated the role of individual and situational differences in determining whether explicit and implicit evaluations are changed in light of new information. In three studies, participants formed implicit and explicit evaluations of two groups before learning new information that objectively contradicted those evaluations. In Experiment 1, individuals characterised by a greater Personal Need for Structure (PNS) formed more extreme explicit evaluations but were also more likely to reverse them later. In contrast, while higher PNS individuals also formed more extreme implicit preferences, they were less likely to change them in response to new information. In Experiments 2a and 2b, the opportunity to re-assess the same evidence on which initial impressions were formed was essential to revising implicit evaluations, but was less important for changing explicit evaluations. These results confirm that differences in motivation and opportunity to engage in elaborative processing moderate the revision of implicit, but not explicit, group preferences. (C) 2015 Elsevier Inc All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-85
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
Early online date17 Dec 2015
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2016


  • Implicit vs. explicit preferences
  • Elaboration
  • Personal need for structure

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