The Cultural Boundaries of Perspective-Taking: When and Why Perspective-Taking Reduces Stereotyping

Cynthia S. Wang*, Margaret Lee, Gillian Ku, Angela K.y. Leung

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Research conducted in Western cultures indicates that perspective-taking is an effective social strategy for reducing stereotyping. The current article explores whether and why the effects of perspective-taking on stereotyping differ across cultures. Studies 1 and 2 established that perspective-taking reduces stereotyping in Western but not in East Asian cultures. Using a socioecological framework, Studies 2 and 3 found that relational mobility, that is, the extent to which individuals’ social environments provide them opportunities to choose new relationships and terminate old ones, explained our effect: Perspective-taking was negatively associated with stereotyping in relationally mobile (Western) but not in relationally stable (East Asian) environments. Finally, Study 4 examined the proximal psychological mechanism underlying the socioecological effect: Individuals in relationally mobile environments are more motivated to develop new relationships than those in relationally stable environments. Subsequently, when this motivation is high, perspective-taking increases self-target group overlap, which then decreases stereotyping.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)928-943
Number of pages16
JournalPersonality and Social Psychology Bulletin
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2018


  • cultural differences
  • perspective-taking
  • relational mobility
  • stereotyping

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology


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