Dual-process models imply that automatic attitudes should be less flexible than their self-reported counterparts; the relevant empirical record, however, is mixed. To advance the debate, the authors conducted 4 experiments investigating how readily automatic preferences for one imagined social group over another could be induced or reversed. Experiments 1 and 2 revealed that automatic preferences, like self-reported ones, could be readily induced by both abstract supposition and concrete learning. In contrast, Experiments 3 and 4 revealed that newly formed automatic preferences, unlike self-reported ones, could not be readily reversed by either abstract supposition or concrete learning. Thus, the relative inflexibility of implicit attitudes appears to entail, not immunity to sophisticated cognition, nor resistance to swift formation, but insensitivity to modification once formed
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