Social stereotype activation and memory performance: a replication study

Alexandra Emilia Gîrbă, Andrei Holman


The present study is an exact replication of Dijksterhuis, Aarts, Bargh and van Knippenberg (2000). On the relation between associative strength and automatic behavior. The present replication includes, additionally, a phase of elaboration and verification of the prime words on Romanian population. The pre-test of the prime words was necessary because we believe that concepts like bingo or Florida, used in the original study, are not associated with the elderly in the Romanian culture. The selected words from this phase were used as prime words in the two experiments. The first
experiment examined the relation between past contact and stereotype activation effects on memory performance. In the second experiment we examined the relation between past contact, stereotype associative strength and stereotype activation effects on memory performance. The present replication supports only partially the results from the original study. The first study does not confirm the influence of semantic activation by subliminal methods of the stereotype of “elderly” on the number of recalled words. Contrarily, the influence of the subliminal activation of this stereotype on the number of recalled words emerged as significant in the second study. It also failed to replicate the mediation effect of the strength of association between the concept of elderly and forgetfulness in the relationship between the activation of the stereotype “elderly” and the number of words recalled.

replication study, stereotype activation, memory performance, elderly, priming

ANDREI HOLMAN – Al. I. Cuza University, Iaşi, Romania, Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, E-mail:

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