Minority status decreases sense of control and increases interpretive processing

Ana Guinote, Megan Brown, Susan T. Fiske

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

48 Scopus citations

Abstract

Relative group size consistently affects social perception. This article proposes that minority members lack subjective control over outcomes, so they engage in interpretative reasoning. In a minimal intergroup procedure, participants believed that they belonged either to a majority or a minority group. They then received information and thought aloud about social targets, with whom they anticipated to interact. As expected, compared to majority members, minority members perceived less control over their outcomes, relied less on factual information, and made more dispositional attributions about social targets. Group size affected processing focus and not processing effort. Sense of control mediated the effect of group size on information processing. These findings illuminate the phenomenology of being a minority.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)169-186
Number of pages18
JournalSocial Cognition
Volume24
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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