How we think they see us? Valence and difficulty of retrieval as moderators of the effect of meta‐stereotype activation on intergroup orientations

Authors:
Alexandra Vázquez, Vincent Yzerbyt, John F. Dovidio, Ángel Gómez
Published Online:
08 Feb 2016
DOI:
10.1002/ijop.12260
Volume/Issue No:
Early View Articles

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Previous research indicates that meta‐stereotypes are predominantly negative. However, the valence of the meta‐stereotypes may not be the only factor accounting for the detrimental effects associated with their activation. In addition to valence, we propose that the subjective difficulty of retrieving the meta‐stereotype might critically determine whether its activation deteriorates intergroup orientations. An experimental study showed that the effect of the meta‐stereotype activation on the desire to interact with outgroup members was moderated by the interaction between the valence of the meta‐stereotype and its difficulty of retrieval. In particular, the activation of a positive meta‐stereotype deteriorated intergroup orientations when the difficulty of retrieval was high as compared with a condition in which the difficulty of retrieval was low. In sharp contrast, the activation of a negative meta‐stereotype worsened intergroup orientations when the difficulty of retrieval was low as compared with a condition in which the difficulty of retrieval was high.

© 2016 International Union of Psychological Science