Differences in explicit stereotype activation among social groups based on the stereotype content model: Behavioral and electrophysiological evidence in Chinese sample



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© 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. The stereotype content model (SCM; Fiske, Cuddy, Glick and Xu, 2002) identifies four basic categories of stereotyped social groups: high warmth-high competence (HW-HC), high warmth-low competence (HW-LC), low warmth-high competence (LW-HC), and low warmth-low competence (LW-LC). However, many of these groups have not been directly examined in stereotype activation research. The purpose of the present research was to extend stereotype activation research to groups that more fully represent those identified under the SCM. Employing explicit sequential priming task, participants responded to prime-target stimulus pairs that were either congruent or incongruent with stereotypes of social groups from all four SCM quadrants in two studies in the current investigation. Study 1 was to determine the behavioral pattern of explicit stereotype activation among four quadrants (the sample included 60 Chinese undergraduate students, 51%—female). Study 2 further employed event-related brain potentials (ERPs) technique to track the time course and electrophysiological underpinnings of explicit stereotype activation (the sample included 22 right-handed Chinese undergraduate students, 76%—female). In Study 1, participants responded more quickly and accurately on stereotype congruent trials than incongruent trials for all social groups except LW-LC groups. This reverse priming effect on LW-LC social groups in RTs was also replicated in Study 2. ERPs findings further showed that incongruent targets elicited larger N400 amplitudes than congruent targets for all four SCM quadrants. Moreover, congruent targets elicited larger P2 than incongruent targets, but only found for the LW-LC social groups. In addition, congruent targets elicited larger amplitudes of late positive component than incongruent targets for the low warmth (LW-LC and LW-HC) groups. Together, these results highlight the unique processing that LW-LC groups receive throughout the cognitive stream, ultimately manifesting in distinctive behavioral responses. Unconscious activation of egalitarian goals, disgust, and distrust accounts are discussed.

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Brain Sciences





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