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Cultur Divers Ethnic Minor Psychol. 2011 Apr;17(2):134-43. doi: 10.1037/a0023806.

Liking is not the opposite of disliking: the functional separability of positive and negative attitudes toward minority groups.

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  • 1Department of Technology and Society, Stony Brook University, NY 11794, USA.


Two studies tested the hypotheses that positive and negative attitudes toward minority groups are not interchangeable in predicting positive versus negative behaviors toward those groups. In Study 1, positive attitudes about Latinos were a better predictor of a positive behavior toward Latinos than were negative attitudes or stereotyped positive attitudes. In Study 2, positive attitudes about African Americans were a better predictor of positive behavioral intentions toward that group than were negative attitudes, whereas negative attitudes were better predictors of negative behavioral intentions than were positive attitudes. Taken together, the studies support the perspective that positive and negative attitudes toward minority groups are theoretically and functionally distinct constructs. We conclude that it is important to measure both positive and negative attitudes to understand and predict behaviors toward minority groups.

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