M.A. (Master of Arts)
Department of Psychology
An experiment was conducted to examine how perspective-taking might influence the outgroup homogeneity effect. The outgroup homogeneity effect refers to the tendency to perceive an outgroup (a group in which one is not a member) as more homogeneous and less differentiated than an ingroup (a group in which one is a member). Three main predictions were tested in a study using 138 male and female undergraduate students as subjects. The first prediction was that individuals naturally adopt the perspective of members of their own sex but not the opposite sex (no perspective-taking instructions condition), leading to less perceived variability in members of the opposite sex. The second prediction was that cuing males and females to adopt their presumably naturally-occurring perspective (consistent perspective-taking instructions condition) would also lead to an outgroup homogeneity effect. The final prediction was that cuing the perspective of members of the opposite sex (inconsistent perspective-taking instructions condition) would lead to the reversal of the outgroup homogeneity effect such that outgroups would be perceived as more variable than ingroups. These predictions were tested using a 2 (ratings of ingroup versus outgroup members) x 3 (no instructions versus consistent versus inconsistent perspective-taking instructions) between-subjects factorial design. Subjects in the perspective-taking instruction conditions read instructions designed to cue them into adopting a perspective for thinking about the group they were rating that was either consistent or inconsistent with the presumed naturally-occurring perspective. Next, they were instructed to make judgments of members of their own sex or the opposite sex that provided measures of perceived variability and stereotypicality. Subjects' judgments provided some evidence for the occurrence of the outgroup homogeneity effect. However, a manipulation check indicated that the perspective-taking manipulation was not effective and, accordingly, support for the predicted effects of perspective-taking were neither expected nor found. Possible alternative strategies for future research on perspective-taking and the outgroup homogeneity effect are discussed.
Jones, Christopher S., "Perspective-taking and the outgroup homogeneity effect" (1991). Graduate Research Theses & Dissertations. 4349.
Northern Illinois University
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