Perspective Taking and Stereotyping: The Role of Stereotype Content

Skorinko, Jeanine Lee, Department of Psychology, University of Virginia
Sinclair, Stacey, Department of Psychology, University of Virginia

Stereotypes pervade our thinking and influence our judgments (see Schneider, 2003). But, recent research suggests that people who perspective take, or try to understand the thoughts and feelings of outgroup members, will stereotype less (Galinsky & Moskowitz, 2000; Vescio, Sechrist, & Paolucci, 2003). Experiments 1 and 2 examine whether the effect of perspective taking on stereotyping depends on the degree to which the outgroup member seems to confirm stereotypes of the group. Replicating past research, perspective takers who viewed an ambiguously stereotyped outgroup member stereotype less than non-perspective takers. However, perspective takers who viewed an outgroup member who confirmed the stereotypes of their group stereotype more than non-perspective takers. Experiment 3 examines whether perspective takers anchor onto available information (e.g., confirming stereotypes) and whether subsequent differences in perceived self-other overlap account for the results in Experiments 1 and 2. All participants in Experiment 3 view an ambiguously stereotyped elderly man; however, one-third are primed with stereotypes of the elderly, one-third are primed with word related to the self, and one-third are primed with negative words. As expected, perspective takers primed with the stereotypes of the elderly stereotype more. Experiment 3 also provides preliminary evidence that differences in perceived self-other overlap might account for the differences in stereotyping.

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PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
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