Racism and the social judgment process: Individual differences in the use of stereotypes

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Neil D. Christiansen
Martin F. Kaplan
Christopher S. Jones
Cite this article:  Christiansen, N., Kaplan, M., & Jones, C. (1999). Racism and the social judgment process: Individual differences in the use of stereotypes. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 27(2), 129-144.


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Based on a framework suggested by information integration theory, in this study we examined how prejudice affects the use of stereotypes when forming social judgments. Participants reviewed applications for a minority scholarship and rated their liking for each applicant. Embedded in the applications were trait descriptions that varied in the amount, stereo-typicality, and valence of the information provided. Evaluations by high-prejudice participants were more negative than those of low-prejudice participants only when the applicant was described by a single negative stereotype; when descriptions contained more information that was negative and stereotypic racism was not a factor. In addition, responses of both groups became more extreme when more traits were provided, especially when traits were positive. Taken together, the results suggest similarly negative predispositions toward minorities, with those of more prejudiced individuals requiring less negative stereotypical information to be activated. Future applications of methodology suggested by information integration theory in the study of racism are discussed.


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