A Rational Approach to Stereotype Change


Existing theories of stereotype change have often made use of categorisation principles in order to provide qualitative explanations for both the revision and maintenance of stereotypical beliefs. The present paper examines the quantitative methods underlying these explanations, contrasting both rational and heuristic models of stereotype change using participant data and model fits. In a comparison of three models each simulating existing descriptions of stereotype change, both empirical data and model fits suggest that stereotypes are updated using rational categorisation processes. This presents stereotype use as a more rational behaviour than may commonly be assumed, and provides new avenues of encouraging stereotype change according to rational principles.

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