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Stereotyping by Omission: Eliminate the Negative, Accentuate the Positive.

Author(s): Bergsieker, Hilary B.; Leslie, Lisa M.; Constantine, Vanessa S.; Fiske, Susan T.

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Abstract: Communicators, motivated by strategic self-presentation, selectively underreport negative content in describing their impressions of individuals and stereotypes of groups, particularly for targets whom they view ambivalently with respect to warmth and competence. Communicators avoid overtly inaccurate descriptions, preferring to omit negative information and emphasize positive information about mixed individual targets (Study 1). With more public audiences, communicators increasingly prefer negativity omission to complete accuracy (Study 2), a process driven by selfpresentation concerns (Study 3), and moderated by bidimensional ambivalence. Similarly, in an extension of the Princeton Trilogy studies, reported stereotypes of ethnic and national outgroups systematically omitted negative dimensions over 75 years—as anti-prejudice norms intensified— while neutral and positive stereotype dimensions remained constant (Study 4). Multiple assessment methods confirm this stereotyping-by-omission phenomenon (Study 5). Implications of negativity omission for innuendo and stereotype stagnation are discussed.
Publication Date: Jun-2012
Electronic Publication Date: 2012
Citation: Bergsieker, Hilary B, Leslie, Lisa M, Constantine, Vanessa S, Fiske, Susan T. (2012). Stereotyping by omission: Eliminate the negative, accentuate the positive.. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 102 (6), 1214 - 1238. doi:10.1037/a0027717
DOI: doi:10.1037/a0027717
ISSN: 0022-3514
EISSN: 1939-1315
Pages: 1214 - 1238
Type of Material: Journal Article
Journal/Proceeding Title: Journal of Personality and Social Psychology
Version: Author's manuscript

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