Ruscher & Hammer (1996) Ruscher, J. B., & Hammer, E. Y. (1996). Choosing to sever or maintain association induces biased impression formation.Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 70, 701-712.

Two experiments demonstrated that impression formation is biased in individuals who decided to maintain to sever association. Accepting the veracity of the partner's stereotype- irrelevant qualities (positive or negative, depending on the decision) helps support the decision, but also appears nonprejudiced because the decision is not based on the partner's category membership. Both experiments confirmed predictions. Experiment 2 also required participants to communicate their impressions of the partner. The effect of choice on communicated impressions was mediated by the biased processing of stereotype- irrelevant information. For example, participants who were induced into choosing to sever their association with the target believed that she had negative (but stereotype -irrelevant) qualities;these beliefs in turn caused participants to communicate a negative impression of the target. Findings are considered in light of dissonance theory.

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