Reversing Roles: A Cognitive Strategy for Undoing Memory Deficits Associated With Token Status

Delia S. Saenz, Charles G. Lord

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Tested whether having tokens (Ts) adopt the role of judge reduces cognitive deficits; examined several hypotheses to explain these deficits. In 3 experiments, Ss were asked to remember as many as possible of opinions exchanged in a group interaction with 3 actors. Experiment 1 demonstrated that judging majority members helped gender Ts improve their memory and ruled out self-denigration as a mediator of token deficits. Experiment 2 indicated that judging others was effective regardless of whether the others were said to know about it or not, ruling out insulation from evaluative scrutiny as a viable mediator for the judge role. Experiment 3 suggested the judge role restores completely the Ts, cognitive capacities and ruled out heightened responsibility as an explanation for the improved memory of judges. This work suggests that Ts may perform better if they can restructure cognitively their social environments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)698-708
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Personality and Social Psychology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1989
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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