Recent research suggests that interaction-appropriate behavior may be automatically triggered by exposure to an out-group cue. Two experiments investigated the role of prejudice and salient egalitarian norms in determining the activation of two fundamental behavioral responses: approach and avoidance. The activation of approach and avoidance was investigated as a function of negative attitudes towards homosexuals (Experiment 1) and African-Caribbeans (Experiment 2). Results indicated that avoidance was automatically activated in response to out-group labels among participants with prejudiced attitudes (Experiments 1 and 2) whereas approach was less activated among prejudiced participants (Experiment 2). The former effect, however, was significantly diminished when egalitarian norms have been made temporarily salient.
- automatic processes
- egalitarian norms