Maintaining stereotypes in the face of disconfirmation: Constructing grounds for subtyping deviants.

  • Kunda Z
  • Oleson K
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Abstract

People encountering deviants who violate a stereotype try to maintain the stereotype by subtyping the deviants. They use the deviants' additional attributes to justify subtyping them. Participants read about counterstereotypic targets. Participants who were given no additional information about targets, and so had no grounds for subtyping them, did generalize from them and changed their stereotypes. However, participants who were told that targets had an additional, neutral attribute appeared to use it as grounds for subtyping them; their stereotypes remained unchanged. Participants came to view the neutral attributes as atypical of the stereotype and as associated with deviance, that is, as good reasons for subtyping the deviant. Neutral attributes blocked generalization from truly counterstereotypic targets but not from overly stereotypic ones, suggesting that their effect was due to participants' attempts to explain away individuals who strongly challenge their stereotypes. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2010 APA, all rights reserved)

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Authors

  • Ziva Kunda

  • Kathryn C. Oleson

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