A Spontaneous Stereotype Content Model: Taxonomy, Properties, and Prediction

Gandalf Nicolas, Xuechunzi Bai, Susan T. Fiske

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


The spontaneous stereotype content model (SSCM) describes a comprehensive taxonomy, with associated properties and predictive value, of social-group beliefs that perceivers report in open-ended responses. Four studies (N =1,470) showthe utility of spontaneous stereotypes, compared to traditional, prompted, scale-based stereotypes. Using natural language processing text analyses, Study 1 shows the most common spontaneous stereotype dimensions for salient social groups. Our results confirm existing stereotype models’ dimensions, while uncovering a significant prevalence of dimensions that these models do not cover, such as Health, Appearance, and Deviance. The SSCM also characterizes the valence, direction, and accessibility of reported dimensions (e.g., Ability stereotypes are mostly positive, but Morality stereotypes are mostly negative; Sociability stereotypes are provided later than Ability stereotypes in a sequence of open-ended responses). Studies 2 and 3 check the robustness of these findings by: using a larger sample of social groups, varying time pressure, and diversifying analytical strategies. Study 3 also establishes the value of spontaneous stereotypes: compared to scales alone, open-ended measures improve predictions of attitudes toward social groups. Improvement in attitude prediction results partially from a more comprehensive taxonomy as well as a construct we refer to as stereotype representativeness: the prevalence of a stereotype dimension in perceivers’ spontaneous beliefs about a social group. Finally, Study 4 examines how the taxonomy provides additional insight into stereotypes’ influence on decision-making in socially relevant scenarios.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1243-1263
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of personality and social psychology
Issue number6
StatePublished - May 5 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


  • Intergroup relations
  • Natural language processing
  • Social cognition
  • Stereotype content
  • Text analysis


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