Seeing is Eating: How and When Activation of Negative Stereotype Increases Stereotype-Conductive Behavior

Publication

October 2011

Authors: Margaret C. Campbell and Gina S. Mohr

This research investigates the effect of activation of a negative stereotype on behaviors that are perceived to increase the chance of becoming a member of the stereotyped group.

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Forthcoming, Journal of Consumer Research, October 2011

This research investigates the effect of activation of a negative stereotype on behaviors that are perceived to increase the chance of becoming a member of the stereotyped group. Activation of a negative stereotype (the overweight stereotype) is shown to lead to stereotype-consistent goal commitment (low health goal commitment), which partially explains increases in stereotype- conducive behavior (eating indulgent foods).

Two theoretically relevant moderators are proposed and supported. Increased accessibility of the countervailing health goal and increased accessibility of the link between the behavior and membership in the stereotyped group both limit the effect of stereotype activation on stereotype-conducive behavior. Five experiments support the facilitative effect of stereotype activation on stereotype-conducive behavior, the role of goal commitment, and both moderators.