The Relationship Between Working Memory Capacity and Implicit Gender Stereotypes

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Florida Southern College
It is no secret that attitudes are complex psychological constructs, and thus individual differences arise in attitudes towards people, things, or ideas. Two cognitive processes have an influence on one’s attitudes: explicit (i.e., deliberate and conscious awareness or belief) and implicit (i.e., unconscious control or belief). Stereotypes develop when generalizations are formed about a specific group, and these generalizations guide implicit attitudes. People are able to make quicker associations when ideas are consistent with a stereotype (e.g., in gender stereotypes, people can recognize the association between “male” and “office” quicker than “female” and “office”). Working memory capacity (WMC) has been described as the ability to hold information in the immediate consciousness to be used following the storage of that information. Individual differences in WMC influence cognitive tasks. Previous research focuses on self-regulatory behavior, suggesting that individuals with lower WMC are less capable of inhibiting implicit processes over explicit; therefore, implicit processes have stronger influences. The purpose of this study was to determine if these effects of WMC on implicit behavior could be generalized to the gender stereotype of females providing for the family and males remaining in the workplace, using the Implicit Association Test.
Honors Thesis Spring 2020
Short-term memory, Stereotypes (Social psychology), Sex role, Sexual division of labor, Subliminal perception