Two (or more?) cognitive approaches to stereotype-formation: Biased or reality based

Russell Spears, Ernst Stroebe

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademic

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Although the stage for cognitive theories of stereotype formation and stereotyping was set by Allport’s (1954) classic volume The Nature of Prejudice , two cognitive theories which have dominated research in this area have been Tajfel’s accentuation theory of stereotyping (e.g., Tajfel, 1957, 1959, 1969; Tajfel & Wilkes, 1963) and Hamilton’s distinctiveness theory of illusory correlation (e.g., Hamilton & Gifford, 1976). Whereas stereotype formation according to accentuation theory is the result of categorization processes, stereotype formation according to Hamilton is (or can be) the result of memory distortions in processing information about different groups. One major difference between these theories is that according to accentuation theory, stereotypes refl ect an accentuation of actual differences between social categories, whereas the mechanism proposed by Hamilton does not require real group differences to exist. The focus of this chapter is to address the explanation of stereotype formation by these to theories, particularly in relation to this reality versus bias theme.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSocial perception from individuals to groups
Subtitle of host publicationFrom individuals to groups
EditorsSteven J. Stroessner, Jeffrey W. Sherman
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherPsychology Press
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-315-73479-8
ISBN (Print)978-1-138-83789-8
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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