Social Justice Research

, Volume 20, Issue 2, pp 140-160

Implicit and Explicit Stereotyping of Adolescents

  • Elisheva F. GrossAffiliated withUniversity of California
  • , Curtis D. HardinAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, Brooklyn College & Graduate Center, City University of New York Email author 

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Although adolescents are commonly assumed to be rebellious, risky and moody, two experiments demonstrate for the first time that these beliefs operate both explicitly and implicitly as stereotypes. In Experiment 1, participants (a) explicitly endorsed adolescent stereotypes and (b) implicitly associated adolescent stereotyped words more rapidly with the adolescent than the adult social category. Individual differences in the explicit endorsement of adolescent stereotypes predicted explicit perceptions of the rebelliousness of a 17-year-old but not a 71-year-old, although individual differences in implicit stereotyping did not. Identification with adults was associated with greater implicit stereotyping but not explicit stereotyping. In Experiment 2, subliminal exposure to adolescent stereotyped words increased subsequent perceptions of the rebelliousness of a 17-year-old but not a 71-year-old. Although individual differences in implicit adolescent stereotyping did not predict explicit evaluations of adolescents, stereotypes of adolescents nevertheless influenced explicit evaluations unconsciously and unintentionally.


implicit attitudes prejudice stereotyping adolescents intergroup conflict