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Cognitive-affective consequences of exposure to stereotype information


Previous research shows that when individuals are exposed to a stereotype favorable to the their group, they perform better (Walton & Cohen, 2003), and when they are exposed to a negative stereotype, they perform worse (Steele & Aronson, 1995). Exposure to stereotypes has been related to lay theories of personal qualities (Aronson, Fried, & Good, 2001; Dar-Nimrod & Heine, 2006; Mendoza-Denton, Kahn, & Chan, 2008). Furthermore, societally favored groups also have a higher tendency to experience certain emotions such as guilt (Spanierman & Heppner, 2004), with implications for stated support for reparative political acts (Leach, Iyer, & Pedersen, 2006). In the current research, I explored the interrelationships between stereotype information, lay theories of personal qualities, and affective reactions, as well as the predictive utility of each for reparations. In a series of two studies, high- and low-status group members were exposed to stereotype information. In Study 1 men and women read either male-superior or no-difference stereotype information and then completed a math test. In Study 2, men and women read either female-superior or no-difference stereotype information and then completed a verbal test. Results demonstrated that high-status group members who felt more guilty after stereotype confirmation subsequently were more willing to engage in political action to improve the low-status group's performance in a relevant domain. High-status group members were also more likely to increase their beliefs in stable implicit theories after reading stereotype information. Furthermore, participants who increased their beliefs in malleable theories after stereotype information were also more likely to stereotype low-status members. Implications for academic intervention and outreach are discussed.

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