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Changing social stereotypes: The case of the information seeker

by Lucy C. Johnston, C. Neil Macrae
European Journal of Social Psychology ()
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Studies on stereotype-based judgments typically force Ss to process all available information, including disconfirming information, before providing their impressions of a group. In this study a more naturalistic paradigm was created by allowing Ss (84 undergraduates) to control the amount and nature of information they received about individual group members (anonymous physics students). It was expected that Ss would instigate a biased information-seeking strategy and display a preference for stereotype-matching rather than for stereotype-mismatching information. Results support this prediction. When Ss could control the nature and amount of information they received, they showed a preference for stereotype-matching information and no change in their stereotypic impressions. However, when Ss were forced to process all the available information their stereotypic evaluation of the group diminished. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)

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