An examination of resource-based and fit-based theories of stereotyping under cognitive load and fit

M. A. Nolan, S. A. Haslam, R. Spears, P. J. Oakes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Should stereotyping be characterised as an act of cognitive miserliness of one of rational meaning-seeking? This paper uses a cognitive load paradigm to investigate the adequacy of popular resource-based explanations of stereotyping in comparison to an alternative fit-based or meaning-based explanation. In Experiment 1, load was increased by means of concurrent tasks within a highly fitting context (where targets generally behaved in a stereotype-consistent fashion). A linear decrease in stereotyping resulted as measured by category confusions on a who-said what recognition task (Taylor, Fiske, Etcoff & Ruderman, 1978). This outcome is inconsistent with a resource-based analysis of stereotyping. Experiment 2 manipulated load as stimulus exposure time. Although load was successfully imposed in this second experiment, stereotyping neither increased nor decreased as a function of load. The concept of cognitive load and the importance of fit for the analysis of stereotyping are discussed. Copyright © 1999 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)641-663
Number of pages23
JournalEuropean Journal of Social Psychology
Volume29
Issue number5-6
Publication statusPublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes

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