Elements of Employability: The Effects of Workplace Priming on Implicit and Explicit Stereotype Content Associated with Down Syndrome
Cognition and Perception
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AbstractThe aim of this experiment was to study whether completing a questionnaire either related or unrelated to various aspects of the workplace could induce different implicit and explicit stereotypic associations with Down syndrome. Subjects read one of three questionnaires before completing a task designed to measure implicit associations. The task consisted of photo primes of faces belonging to individuals with Down syndrome and typically developing individuals, followed by an evaluative decision task with adjectives related to the stereotype dimensions of warmth and competence. Following the implicit task, participants were asked directly about their associations between Down syndrome and each of the target traits. It was hypothesized that Down syndrome would be systematically associated with low competence, regardless of the context primed, but that it would be associated with greater warmth when morale-related aspects of the workplace were primed than when efficiency-related aspects of the workplace were primed. These hypotheses were not supported, and questionnaire type did not seem to prime specific associations in the implicit task. However, consistent with past research, Down syndrome was associated with high ratings of warmth on the explicit measure, and implicit results suggest Down syndrome may be implicitly associated with greater warmth as well. Methodological limitations of the study are discussed, as well as possible directions for future research.