Is the automatic evaluation of individual group members inherently biased by their group membership?

Mayan Navon, Yoav Bar-Anan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


According to some person perception theories, when people perceive an individual member of a social group, the information about the group is activated more spontaneously and easily than information specific to the individual. Therefore, the judgment of individual group members might be more sensitive to group information (relatively to individuating information) the more automatic (fast, unintentional, and effortless) the judgment is. We tested this premise with a minimalistic impression formation paradigm that provided evaluative information about eight individuals and assigned them to two novel groups. In one group, three members behaved positively, and one member behaved negatively. In the other group, three members behaved negatively and one positively. In a meta-analysis of 13 experiments (Ns = 4157 for automatic judgment, 6071 for nonautomatic judgment) that used this paradigm, we found that the evaluation of the atypical group members, on measures developed to tap automatic judgment and on measures of nonautomatic judgment, was sensitive to the individuating information more than to the group information. However, the relative effect of group information (vs. individuating information) was stronger on automatic than on nonautomatic judgment. Our findings suggest that the automatic judgment of individual group members is highly sensitive to individuating information but is still, inherently, more biased than nonautomatic judgment by group information.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104491
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2023


  • Automatic evaluation
  • Impression formation
  • Individuation
  • Prejudice
  • Social judgment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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