Fantasia: Being emotionally involved with a stereotyped target changes stereotype warmth

Veronica Sevillano, Susan T. Fiske

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Dimensions of stereotypes, warmth and competence, may respond differentially to perceivers' emotional involvement. Two studies tested the effect of being emotionally involved with a fictional immigrant target on stereotypic warmth but not competence dimension. Emotional involvement with a target affects the target's perceived trustworthiness, warmth-related attributes, but not competence. Emotional involvement was operationalized as a personal variable, fantasizing tendency (tendency to empathically engage with fictitious characters) and a situational variable (emotion-focused instructions to adopt the target's perspective). After reading an immigrant's blog, Study 1 participants with a strong tendency to become involved with characters, if also instructed to focus on targets' emotional reactions, rated an immigrant as warmer than did all other combinations, but perceived competence did not change. In Study 2, priming the perceived competitive intent of the immigrant's group (an anti-warmth predictor) impeded involvement with the target and decreased perceived warmth. Priming perceived cooperative intent (a warmth predictor) replicated Study 1's results. Together, the studies show preliminary support for a specific emotional involvement-warmth link.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Intercultural Relations
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Business and International Management
  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


  • Emotion
  • Emotional sharing
  • Fantasy
  • Immigrants
  • Stereotype content
  • Warmth


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