Think Unto Others...The Self-destructive Impact of Negative Racial Stereotypes

Think Unto Others...The Self-destructive Impact of Negative Racial Stereotypes

By
S. Christian Wheeler, W.Blair G. Jarvis, Richard E. Petty
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. March
2001, Vol. 37, Issue 2, Pages 173–180

Although much research on stereotyping has documented significant negative consequences for the targets of unfavorable racial stereotypes, relatively little work has examined negative implications for the holders of such stereotypes. The present research highlights a notable cost for stereotype holders. In two studies, we demonstrated that racial stereotype activation can elicit maladaptive, stereotype-consistent behavior for nonstereotyped individuals who hold a stereotype. Non-African-American participants who were subtly primed with the African American stereotype performed significantly worse on a standardized math test than participants who were not so primed. The effect of the prime was significantly stronger for those individuals who spontaneously considered the stereotype from the first-person perspective. Implications and possible mechanisms of the effect are discussed.