Implicit and Explicit Attitudes: Research, Challenges, and Theory

Authored by: John N. Bassili , Rick D. Brown

The Handbook of Attitudes

Print publication date:  April  2005
Online publication date:  April  2014

Print ISBN: 9780805844924
eBook ISBN: 9781410612823
Adobe ISBN: 9781135626174


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Assumptions about the mental representation of attitudes are critical to our understanding of attitudes. Research findings from the past two decades have added to the challenges that must be met by any representational system of attitudes. Two challenges stand out in particular. The first challenge arises from the increasingly apparent dual nature of attitudinal processes: deliberate or explicit on the one hand, and automatic or implicit on the other (Devine, 1989; Fazio, 1990; Wilson, Lindsey, & Schooler, 2000), whereas the second challenge arises from the pervasiveness of context effects in attitude experience and expression (see Blair. 2002; Schwarz & Bohner, 2001). In addition to being able to accommodate deliberative as well as relatively automatic attitude expression, the attitudinal constructs that are posited by a representational system of attitudes have to be able to account for attitudinal malleability. We begin with a discussion of the challenges created by the apparent duality of attitude expression and experience and by context effects. Given the relative novelty of research on implicit attitudes, we review this area in particular detail.

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