The double-edge of similarity and difference mindsets

What comparison mindsets do depends on whether self or group representations are focal

D.R. Ames, S. Mor, C. Toma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

Past work has argued that comparison mindsets affect stereotyping: perceivers in a difference mindset stereotype less than those in a similarity mindset, contrasting their judgments of an individual away from their representation of the group. Here, we argue that the self can also act as a reference point, implying that the impact of comparison mindsets depends on what is focal. In two studies manipulating comparison mindsets and activated representations, we find support for our claims that a difference (compared to similarity) mindset leads to less stereotyping and greater social projection when group representations are focal but to more stereotyping and less projection when self representations are focal.
Highlights
► Person perception often involves comparing individual targets to reference points.
► Past work argues that difference versus similarity focus yields less stereotyping.
► We suggest this could reverse if self, rather than group, representations are focal.
► In two studies, we manipulate comparison mindset and activated representation.
► We find an interaction: impact of comparison mindset depends on focal representation.
Keywords: Stereotyping, Social projection, Social comparison, Comparison mindset, Stereotype reduction
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)583-587
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
Volume49
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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Cite this

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The double-edge of similarity and difference mindsets : What comparison mindsets do depends on whether self or group representations are focal. / Ames, D.R.; Mor, S.; Toma, C.

In: Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, Vol. 49, No. 3, 2013, p. 583-587.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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AU - Mor, S.

AU - Toma, C.

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AB - Past work has argued that comparison mindsets affect stereotyping: perceivers in a difference mindset stereotype less than those in a similarity mindset, contrasting their judgments of an individual away from their representation of the group. Here, we argue that the self can also act as a reference point, implying that the impact of comparison mindsets depends on what is focal. In two studies manipulating comparison mindsets and activated representations, we find support for our claims that a difference (compared to similarity) mindset leads to less stereotyping and greater social projection when group representations are focal but to more stereotyping and less projection when self representations are focal.Highlights► Person perception often involves comparing individual targets to reference points. ► Past work argues that difference versus similarity focus yields less stereotyping. ► We suggest this could reverse if self, rather than group, representations are focal. ► In two studies, we manipulate comparison mindset and activated representation. ► We find an interaction: impact of comparison mindset depends on focal representation.Keywords: Stereotyping, Social projection, Social comparison, Comparison mindset, Stereotype reduction

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