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Communication and Essentialism: Grounding the Shared Reality of a Social Category

by Yoshihisa Kashima, Emiko S. Kashima, Paul Bain, Anthony Lyons, R. Scott Tindale, Garry Robins, Cedric Vears, Jennifer Whelan
Social Cognition ()

Abstract

Essentialism is an ontological belief that there exists an underlying essence to a category. This article advances and tests in three studies the hypothesis that communication about a social category, and expected or actual mu- tual validation, promotes essentialism about a social category. In Study 1, people who wrote communications about a social category to their ingroup audiences essentialized it more strongly than those who simply memorized about it. in Study 2, communicators whose messages about a novel social category were more elaborately discussed with a confederate showed a stronger tendency to essentialize it. In Study 3, communicators who elabo- rately talked about a social category with a naive conversant also essential- ized the social category. A meta-analysis of the results supported the hy- pothesis that communication promotes essentialism. Although essentialism has been discussed primarily in perceptual and cognitive domains, the role of social processes as its antecedent deserves greater attention.

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Authors on Mendeley

  1. Anthony Lyons
    Researcher (at an Academic Institution)
    La Trobe University

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5% United Kingdom
 
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