Could Expressing Stereotypes Actually Decrease Them?

713 words - 3 pages

A stereotype is a generalization about a group in which the same traits are applied to all members, despite individual differences among them (lecture, 1/28/2010). In 1994, Macrae’s experiment shed light on stereotype “rebounding,” or the idea that people’s attempts to suppress stereotypes actually causes their stereotypes to be stronger (lecture, 1/28/2010). This leads one to question: if the concept of “rebounding” is true, can the same be said for the opposite? This experiment will allow one to look into the hypothesis that having subjects describe a person of a different race as stereotypically as they can will lead them to evaluate them more favorably later on.
The experiment will look into the idea that recognizing one’s stereotypes will lead one to have a decrease in their level of prejudice. In this experiment, the independent variable is the act of emphasizing stereotypes. Participants will be chosen for this experiment using a convenience sample of Ohio State University students and will be randomly assigned to one of two groups. Also, experimenters will be blind to the procedure. Group one will be the control group and will be shown a picture of someone that is a member of their out-group, or a group they do not belong to (lecture, 1/28/2010). In this case the photo will be of a person that is of a different race than their own. Participants will then be asked to write a short description of what they think the person in the picture is like, including their personality traits and character. Group two members will also be shown a picture of an out-group member, but will be told to describe the person using all of the stereotypes they know about this person and the group(s) they belong to. Though these descriptions will prove that participants know certain stereotypes, it does not prove that they agree with them (lecture 1/28/2010). Regardless of whether participants agree with what they say or not, these descriptions will force participants to acknowledge the stereotypes that they know of. The idea behind this is that acknowledging these stereotypes will force people...

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