Research Topic

Implicit Social Cognition: Malleability and Change

About this Research Topic

Implicit attitudes can be defined as automatic mental representations outside of our conscious awareness that influence our social perception, judgment, and action.
A consistent number of studies showed that although people explicitly report egalitarian principles and values, they can exhibit automatic associations at the implicit level, which in turn can predict behavior, such as negative intergroup interactions, biases in medical decision making, and hiring discrimination.
Given the practical implications of addressing implicit attitudes, over the past decades, several studies have attempted to develop behavioral interventions to modulate them (e.g., inducing emotional states, and exposing individuals to counterstereotypical exemplars or information) or using specific techniques to produce changes in mechanisms and cognitive processes that underlie these mental representations (e.g., non-invasive brain stimulation, NBS, or virtual reality, VR). Moreover, larger societal changes (e.g., legalizing same-sex marriage) or distinct events (e.g., COVID-19) have been shown to change implicit attitudes towards targeted groups.

The goal of the present research topic is to bring leading experts to present recent advances in modulating implicit attitudes and to initiate a discussion about the current state of the art and the practical implications of addressing this issue in our society, including health care setting, work-place environment, law enforcement agencies, and legal field.

The aim is thus twofold: first, the current Research Topic aims at providing an updated overview of the interventions and techniques currently used in the research field to modulate implicit attitudes and their impact and of the potential new strategies and methods (e.g., larger governmental/societal interventions); second, it aims at putting together experts opinion on which should be the role of these interventions and techniques in our society.

For this Research Topic, we welcome original research articles, reviews, method papers, opinion papers, and general commentaries that have their core focus on malleability and change of implicit attitudes and behavior.

Also, we strongly encourage the submission of Registered Reports of both original and replication studies. Registered Reports will be evaluated in two phases. In Phase 1, peer reviewers will assess the value and validity of the research question, the rationale of the hypotheses, and rigor of the proposed methods. After the manuscript receives an in-principle acceptance, which means that the article will be published regardless of the outcome (assuming the research protocol has been followed closely) the authors are invited to pre-register their study in a recognized repository (e.g., osf.io), collect data, and submit Phase 2 manuscripts with results and a discussion. Phase 2 reviewers will focus on adherence to the study protocol and on eventual post-hoc exploratory analyses.


Keywords: Implicit social cognition, attitude, stereotypes, implicit measures, behavior, malleability, change


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

Implicit attitudes can be defined as automatic mental representations outside of our conscious awareness that influence our social perception, judgment, and action.
A consistent number of studies showed that although people explicitly report egalitarian principles and values, they can exhibit automatic associations at the implicit level, which in turn can predict behavior, such as negative intergroup interactions, biases in medical decision making, and hiring discrimination.
Given the practical implications of addressing implicit attitudes, over the past decades, several studies have attempted to develop behavioral interventions to modulate them (e.g., inducing emotional states, and exposing individuals to counterstereotypical exemplars or information) or using specific techniques to produce changes in mechanisms and cognitive processes that underlie these mental representations (e.g., non-invasive brain stimulation, NBS, or virtual reality, VR). Moreover, larger societal changes (e.g., legalizing same-sex marriage) or distinct events (e.g., COVID-19) have been shown to change implicit attitudes towards targeted groups.

The goal of the present research topic is to bring leading experts to present recent advances in modulating implicit attitudes and to initiate a discussion about the current state of the art and the practical implications of addressing this issue in our society, including health care setting, work-place environment, law enforcement agencies, and legal field.

The aim is thus twofold: first, the current Research Topic aims at providing an updated overview of the interventions and techniques currently used in the research field to modulate implicit attitudes and their impact and of the potential new strategies and methods (e.g., larger governmental/societal interventions); second, it aims at putting together experts opinion on which should be the role of these interventions and techniques in our society.

For this Research Topic, we welcome original research articles, reviews, method papers, opinion papers, and general commentaries that have their core focus on malleability and change of implicit attitudes and behavior.

Also, we strongly encourage the submission of Registered Reports of both original and replication studies. Registered Reports will be evaluated in two phases. In Phase 1, peer reviewers will assess the value and validity of the research question, the rationale of the hypotheses, and rigor of the proposed methods. After the manuscript receives an in-principle acceptance, which means that the article will be published regardless of the outcome (assuming the research protocol has been followed closely) the authors are invited to pre-register their study in a recognized repository (e.g., osf.io), collect data, and submit Phase 2 manuscripts with results and a discussion. Phase 2 reviewers will focus on adherence to the study protocol and on eventual post-hoc exploratory analyses.


Keywords: Implicit social cognition, attitude, stereotypes, implicit measures, behavior, malleability, change


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

04 September 2021 Abstract
30 June 2022 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

04 September 2021 Abstract
30 June 2022 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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