The effects of source credibility on the dilution of stereotype-based judgments

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Journal Article

The present research investigated the relationship between stereotypical and individuating information in judgmental tasks. In particular, it was hypothesized that, in addition to considering the nature of the individuating information presented to subjects, it is also important to investigate how the credibility of the source of this information can affect stereotype dilution. Extending ideas from the literature on persuasion, the present results supported the prediction that subjects differentiate between high-and low-credibility sources only when they provide stereotype-disconfirming individuating information. They did not, however support the contention that stereotype dilution is invariably mediated by a reliance on the representativeness heuristic. These findings are considered in the wider context of cognitive approaches to stereotyping and stereotype change.

Personality & Social Psychology Bulletin
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Journal Article
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Subjects and Design Ninety-six pupils (16-18 years of age; 48 males and 48 females) from a comprehensive school in Gloucester, England, participated in the experiment. The study had a 2 (Credibility of Source: high/low) X 2 (Target: skinhead/male hairdresser) X 3 (Individuating Information: confirming/disconfirming/neutral) between-subjects design.

Stimulus Materials and Procedure Subjects were presented with a statement of a behavior performed by a male target, followed by a number of questions. the target was identified by his forename and described as either a skinhead or a male hairdresser. There then followed a description of a single behavior the target had performed. This behavior was either stereotype confirming, stereotype disconfirming, or stereotypically neutral. [...] After learning of the target's behavior, subjects gave their ratings (again on 9-point scales) of his aggressiveness and typicality. The aggressiveness scale was anchored 1, not at all, to 9, very, and the typicality scale 1, not at all typical, to 9, very typical. [...]

Type of Prejudice/Bias