Previous research has demonstrated that taking the perspective of an outgroup member reduces the likelihood of stereotyping that person and their group (e.g., Galinsky & Moskowitz, 2000; Vescio, Sechrist, & Paolucci, 2003). In the present research, we hypothesized and found that the effect of perspective taking on stereotyping depends on the apparent stereotypicality of the target. In Experiment 1, participants who took the perspective of an elderly person who was ambiguously stereotypic were less likely to engage in stereotyping than non-perspective takers. But, participants who took the perspective of a clearly stereotype-consistent outgroup member were more apt to engage in stereotyping than non-perspective takers. Experiment 2 suggests that increased stereotyping occurs because people use stereotypes as a basis for perspective taking when they are highly salient. Negatively-valenced but stereotype-irrelevant information does not have a similar effect on subsequent judgments (Experiment 3). Experiment 4 extended the findings to a different stigmatized group, overweight individuals.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Social Psychology
- Sociology and Political Science
- Outgroup member
- Perspective taking
- Stereotype reduction