Group entitativity and social attribution: On translating situational constraints into stereotypes

Vincent Yzerbyt, Anouk Rogier, Susan T. Fiske

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

156 Scopus citations


The research investigates the impact of group entitativity on social attribution. Perceivers confronted with a group high in entitativity more readily call on an underlying essence to explain people's behavior. We adapted Ross, Amabile, and Steinmetz's overattribution paradigm to a group setting. Participants were randomly selected to join a group of questioners, answerers, or observers in a quiz game. Unknown to the contestants, their group was presented to the observers as an entity or as an aggregate. As predicted, group entitativity promoted the use of dispositional attributions for the behavior of group members. These findings suggest that the explanation of group members' behavior is more likely to remain situation insensitive whenever perceivers share the naïve theory that underlying features characterize the group. The discussion focuses on the impact of social attribution in the emergence of stereotypes and examines the role of subjective essentialism in social categorization and rationalization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1089-1103
Number of pages15
JournalPersonality and Social Psychology Bulletin
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1998

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology


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