University of Pennsylvania Working Papers in Linguistics


Variationists have largely, though often implicitly, subscribed to a model of social cognition that characterizes complex social reasoning as conscious and deliberative (e.g. the sociolinguistic monitor), in opposition to rapid and automatic linguistic behaviors (e.g. the vernacular). This paper argues against that assumption, presenting evidence from the field of social cognition which documents automatic processing in the formation of social perceptions, the triggering and pursuit of goals and the effects of stereotype-based priming. Implications and future directions for variation are discussed.