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What did they say? How subgroup stereotypes influence memory for superordinate groups


Berthold, Anne; Steffens, Melanie C; Mummendey, Amélie (2019). What did they say? How subgroup stereotypes influence memory for superordinate groups. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 83:23-36.

Abstract

Members of different groups often disagree when it comes to determining which group most accurately represents a shared superordinate group. Many studies have shown that the ingroup is often perceived as more prototypical of a superordinate category than the outgroup (i.e., relative prototypicality effect). This higher perceived congruence (overlap) between ingroup and superordinate group representations should be reflected in individuals' information processing and memory regarding the superordinate group. The authors hypothesized that in recall paradigms (H1), individuals would initially show better memory for information from the superordinate group that is inconsistent (rather than consistent) with the ingroup stereotype. We assumed that in recognition paradigms (H2), individuals would be more likely to attribute information to the superordinate group if the information was consistent with ingroup vs. outgroup stereotypes. Finally, we hypothesized that in recognition paradigms, individuals would confuse the ingroup with the superordinate group more often than they would confuse the outgroup with the superordinate group (H3). Five experiments testing these hypotheses (N = 314) and using different groups and stimulus modalities generally support these assumptions. The findings suggest that perceivers initially engage in inconsistency processing when confronted with information from a superordinate group that contradicts their ingroup-based expectation. However, even though perceivers initially recall such information particularly well, they are not able to integrate contradictory information successfully. More generally, our findings indicate that the perceived overlap between ingroup and superordinate group representations affects individuals' memory and thus helps explain why the relative prototypicality effect is such a robust phenomenon.

Abstract

Members of different groups often disagree when it comes to determining which group most accurately represents a shared superordinate group. Many studies have shown that the ingroup is often perceived as more prototypical of a superordinate category than the outgroup (i.e., relative prototypicality effect). This higher perceived congruence (overlap) between ingroup and superordinate group representations should be reflected in individuals' information processing and memory regarding the superordinate group. The authors hypothesized that in recall paradigms (H1), individuals would initially show better memory for information from the superordinate group that is inconsistent (rather than consistent) with the ingroup stereotype. We assumed that in recognition paradigms (H2), individuals would be more likely to attribute information to the superordinate group if the information was consistent with ingroup vs. outgroup stereotypes. Finally, we hypothesized that in recognition paradigms, individuals would confuse the ingroup with the superordinate group more often than they would confuse the outgroup with the superordinate group (H3). Five experiments testing these hypotheses (N = 314) and using different groups and stimulus modalities generally support these assumptions. The findings suggest that perceivers initially engage in inconsistency processing when confronted with information from a superordinate group that contradicts their ingroup-based expectation. However, even though perceivers initially recall such information particularly well, they are not able to integrate contradictory information successfully. More generally, our findings indicate that the perceived overlap between ingroup and superordinate group representations affects individuals' memory and thus helps explain why the relative prototypicality effect is such a robust phenomenon.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Scopus Subject Areas:Social Sciences & Humanities > Social Psychology
Social Sciences & Humanities > Sociology and Political Science
Uncontrolled Keywords:Sociology and Political Science, Social Psychology
Language:English
Date:1 July 2019
Deposited On:21 Aug 2019 09:58
Last Modified:29 Jul 2020 11:13
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0022-1031
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jesp.2019.02.007

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