Skip to content

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 ()
Get full text at journal


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 mutual 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 elaborately talked about a social category with a naive conversant also essentialized the social category. A meta-analysis of the results supported the hypothesis 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.

Cite this document (BETA)

Authors on Mendeley

Readership Statistics

35 Readers on Mendeley
by Discipline
71% Psychology
11% Social Sciences
11% Business, Management and Accounting
by Academic Status
34% Student > Ph. D. Student
20% Researcher
11% Student > Bachelor
by Country
6% United States
3% France
3% Australia

Sign up today - FREE

Mendeley saves you time finding and organizing research. Learn more

  • All your research in one place
  • Add and import papers easily
  • Access it anywhere, anytime

Start using Mendeley in seconds!

Sign up & Download

Already have an account? Sign in