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J Pers Soc Psychol. 2004 Nov;87(5):573-85.

Strategies for social inference: a similarity contingency model of projection and stereotyping in attribute prevalence estimates.

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Columbia Business School, Columbia University, New York, NY 10027, USA.


Most models of how perceivers infer the widespread attitudes and qualities of social groups revolve around either the self (social projection, false consensus) or stereotypes (stereotyping). The author suggests people rely on both of these inferential strategies, with perceived general similarity moderating their use, leading to increased levels of projection and decreased levels of stereotyping. Three studies featuring existing individual differences in perceived similarity as well as manipulated perceptions supported the predictions, with similarity yielding increased projection to, and decreased stereotyping of, various in-groups and out-groups. Evidence that projection and stereotyping may serve as inferential alternatives also emerged. The model and accompanying results have implications for research on social comparison and projection, stereotyping and prejudice, and social inference.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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