Stupid Doctors and Smart Construction Workers: Perspective-Taking Reduces Stereotyping of Both Negative and Positive Targets

Cynthia S. Wang, Gillian Ku, Kenneth Tai, Adam D. Galinsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations

Abstract

Numerous studies have found that perspective-taking reduces stereotyping and prejudice, but they have only involved negative stereotypes. Because target negativity has been empirically confounded with reduced stereotyping, the general effects of perspective-taking on stereotyping and prejudice are unclear. By including both positively and negatively stereotyped targets, this research offers the first empirical test of two competing hypotheses: The positivity hypothesis predicts that perspective-taking produces a positivity bias, with less stereotyping of negative targets but more stereotyping of positive targets. In contrast, the stereotype-reduction hypothesis predicts that perspective-taking reduces stereotyping, regardless of target valence. Three studies support the stereotype-reduction hypothesis. Perspective-taking also produced less positive attitudes toward positive targets, with reduced stereotyping mediating this effect. A final study demonstrated that perspective-taking reduced all stereotyping because it increased self-other overlap. These findings help answer fundamental questions about perspective-taking's effects and processes, and provide evidence that perspective-taking does not improve attitudes invariantly.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)430-436
Number of pages7
JournalSocial Psychological and Personality Science
Volume5
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2014

Keywords

  • intergroup relations
  • perspective-taking
  • prejudice/stereotyping
  • self-esteem
  • self/identity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology

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