Familiarity as a regulatory function: A study in stereotype field (2003 - 2006)

Project Leader:

Teresa Garcia Marques


Project's Summary:

The studies included in this project are directly related with the work developed by Garcia-Marques and Mackie (Garcia-Marques, 1999; Garcia-Marques & amp; MacKie, 2000). Like in other studies that we have been developing, the studies presented here address the hypothesis that affect exert a regulatory function of how information is processed (Damasio, 1994; Garcia-Marques, 1999; Simon, 1967) and that familiarity is a valenced feeling. Although we have already developed some empirical support for our claims, there is a need for more generalized empirical support for such strong assumptions and the need for dealing with some methodological problems that do not allow more strict tests of those.

In this project we presents we directly address one of the several implications of the hypothesis that familiarity exert a regulatory function of how information is processed. Namely that the familiarity with a target person, or with the context where this target appears, decrease the perceiver’s processing of individuating information, thereby increasing the perceiver's use of stereotypes in making judgments about the target.


Project’s aims:

The general goal of this project is to study of the hypothesis is a regulatory function of the feeling of “familiarity”. That is it, this project aims to provide a better and more generalized test to the hypothesis that, valenced feelings, such as familiarity, impact mode of processing (assuming a dual processing view). The impact repeated exposure may have on the use of stereotypes as bases for judgments, is interpreted as due to the use of familiarity as a regulator of processing effort. In everyday life, familiarity with another person ordinarily covaries with liking, individuated knowledge, and friendship, factors that may effectively limit stereotyping. However we aim to show that when familiarity is unconfounded from these other factors, its effect can be to increase stereotyping.

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