Motivation and Emotion

, Volume 33, Issue 1, pp 10–24 | Cite as

When internalization leads to automatization: The role of self-determination in automatic stereotype suppression and implicit prejudice regulation

  • Lisa LegaultEmail author
  • Isabelle Green-Demers
  • Allison L. Eadie
Original Paper


Recent evidence suggests that self-determined prejudice regulation is negatively related to both self-reported prejudice and automatic racial bias. However, the social-cognitive processes involved in this association have not yet been examined. Thus, the current project sought to test the ‘internalization-automatization hypothesis’, that is, to assess the extent to which prejudice regulation is automatic for those high and low in self-determined motivation to regulate prejudice. To this end, two different experimental paradigms were used. In Experiment 1 (N = 84), differences in the automatic activation and application of stereotypes were assessed for those high and low in self-determined prejudice regulation. As expected, both types of prejudice regulators showed similar stereotype activation. However, only self-determined individuals inhibited the application of stereotypes following a prime. Experiment 2 (N = 134), assessed the impact of self-regulatory depletion on the regulation of implicit prejudice. As anticipated, for the self-determined regulators, prejudice regulation did not vary between depleted and non-depleted individuals. However, when non-self-determined prejudice regulators were depleted, prejudice increased, relative to non-depleted controls. Results are discussed in terms of an increased understanding of prejudice regulation through self-determination. Evidence of the automatization of self-determined prejudice regulation offers promising implications for the reduction of prejudice.


Self-determination Automaticity Implicit motivation Prejudice regulation Stereotype Suppression Self-regulation 



This research was supported by a doctoral fellowship awarded to the first author from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, and a research grant awarded to the second author from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lisa Legault
    • 1
    Email author
  • Isabelle Green-Demers
    • 2
  • Allison L. Eadie
    • 1
  1. 1.School of PsychologyUniversity of OttawaOttawaCanada
  2. 2.Université du Québec en OutaouaisGatineauCanada

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