The proactive control of stereotype activation: Implicit goals to not stereotype

Gordon B. Moskowitz, Jeff Stone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Stereotypes are typically conceived of as controlled through conscious willing. We propose that goals can lead to stereotype control even when the goals are not consciously noted. This is called proactive control since goal pursuit occurs not as a reaction to a stereotype having been activated and having exerted influence, but as an act of goal shielding that inhibits stereotypes instead of activating them. In two experiments proactive control over stereotypes toward African Americans was illustrated using a lexical decision task. In Experiment 1, participants with egalitarian goals showed slower responses to stereotypic words when following an African American male face (relative to following a White face). Experiment 2 illustrated African American faces facilitated responses to stimuli relevant to egalitarian goals; White faces did not. Together, these studies indicate that, without consciously trying, participants with egalitarian goals' implicit reaction to African Americans included triggering fairness goals and inhibiting stereotypes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)172-179
Number of pages8
JournalZeitschrift fur Psychologie / Journal of Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2012


  • Egalitarianism
  • Fairness goals
  • Stereotype control

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • General Psychology


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