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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Intergroup bias in group judgment processes: The role of behavioral memories

  • Author(s): Sherman, JW
  • Klein, SB
  • Laskey, A
  • Wyer, NA
  • et al.

Two experiments examined the role of memory for behavioral episodes in judgments about in-groups and out-groups. Using a minimal group paradigm, participants read either positive or negative trait-relevant behaviors performed by group members. They then were asked to make judgments about the group's trait characteristics. Results demonstrated that, for groups described positively, judgments about the out-group but not the in-group were accomplished by retrieving from memory specific behaviors performed by group members. In contrast, for groups described negatively, judgments about the in-group but not the out-group were accomplished by retrieving specific behaviors performed by group members. These results suggest that basic differences in the way judgments about in-groups and out-groups are made contribute to the establishment and perpetuation of intergroup bias by decreasing the stability of negative in-group and positive out-group impressions and increasing the stability of positive in-group and negative out-group impressions. © 1998 Academic Press.

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