Looking for Truth in All the Wrong Places? Asymmetric Search of Individuating Information about Stereotyped Group Members

Yaacov Trope, Erik P. Thompson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Two experiments examined how category-based expectancies (CBEs) influence individuating information sought when trying to make accurate judgments about the attitudes of targets who were members of social categories that strongly or weakly implied the judged attitude. CBEs produced marked asymmetries in the number and content of participants' questions. Specifically, participants addressed fewer questions to stereotyped targets (STs) than to nonstereotyped targets (NSTs), thus acquiring relatively little individuating information about STs prior to judgment. Questions asked STs were diagnostically asymmetric - a response could better confirm than disconfirm the expected attitude, but questions to NSTs were diagnostically symmetric - a response could equally confirm or disconfirm the attitude. The authors discuss asymmetric search as a mechanism that may protect CBEs against disconfirmation independent of biased processing of acquired information.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)229-241
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of personality and social psychology
Volume73
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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