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.
|Number of pages||23|
|Journal||European Journal of Social Psychology|
|Publication status||Published - 1999|