suggest that when motivation and opportunity to engage in elaborative

Suggest that when motivation and opportunity to

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suggest that when motivation and opportunity to engage in elaborative processing are high, prejudiced thoughts, feelings, or behaviors can be inhibited, to a large extent (e.g. Devine, 1989). In this case, it is possible that negative, bodily states (e.g. negative affect) may be effectively ignored, during judgments. Other frameworks diminish the impact of embodied states in other ways; for example, by suggesting that embodied states only bias judgments when little other information is available (Chen & Chaiken, 1999). However, recent findings suggest that embodied states may influence judgments, even in cases when controlled, elaborative processing is high. In a recent study, Hauser and Schwarz (2015) tested a frequently studied “social embodiment” effect: the influence of physical weight on judgments of importance (see Jostmann, Lakens, & Schubert, 2009). In this study, the researchers were primarily interested in whether social embodiment effects could be found in scenarios where a) information about an object was highly salient and well-known, and b) when elaborative processing was high. To manipulate information about the object, Hauser and Schwarz asked participants to judge the importance of a book (which was either physically heavy or light; between-subjects) that they had either read (high information condition), or not (low information). To measure elaborative processing, they used self-reports of dispositional “need for cognition”, which measures self-reported tendencies to engage in controlled, elaborative thinking. In this study, two surprising effects were found. First, the social embodiment effect (heavy books judged as more important) only occurred when participants had prior knowledge of
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EMBODIED PREJUDICE 31 the book. Second, the effect was stronger for participants who were high in need for cognition than for those low in need for cognition. Together, these results suggest that elaborative processing and prior knowledge may actually increase social embodiment effects, rather than decrease them. To account for these findings, Hauser and Schwarz (2015) propose a “hypothesis testing” account of social embodiment effects. In this account, a two-step model is proposed. First, embodied states activate knowledge of a target that is consistent with the embodied state. For example, feeling physical warmth (“warmth is affection” metaphor; Williams & Bargh, 2008) may activate knowledge of prior instances in which an outgroup has behaved warmly towards the ingroup. Second, if there is a sufficient amount of knowledge that is congruent with the embodied state, social embodiment effects will occur. In contrast, if there is no knowledge that is compatible with the embodied state, no effects will occur. Thus, contrary to approaches that propose that social embodiment effects will only occur when there is little knowledge of the target, Hauser and Schwarz’s account suggests that social embodiment effects may occur precisely when there is considerable knowledge of the target.
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