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J Pers Soc Psychol. 2005 Apr;88(4):686-702.

In genes we trust: the biological component of psychological essentialism and its relationship to mechanisms of motivated social cognition.

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  • 1University of Mannheim, Mannheim, Germany. jkeller@uni-mannheim.de

Abstract

Three studies analyzed the biological component of psychological essentialism (laypeople's belief that social categories have an underlying nature/natural foundation) as it pertains to mechanisms of motivated social cognition. A new scale assessing the belief in genetic determinism is introduced as a measure of the biological component of essentialism. Results speak to the reliability and validity of the scale and show that essentialist beliefs are associated with basic social-cognitive motives and are also related to processes of stereotyping and prejudice. An experimental study found that rendering essentialist information salient elicits increased levels of prejudice and in-group bias, particularly in persons holding chronic essentialist beliefs.

Copyright 2005 APA.

PMID:
15796668
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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