Cognitive models of stereotype change. 3. Subtyping and the perceived typicality of disconfirming group members

Lucy Johnston, Miles Hewstone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

206 Citations (Scopus)


Two studies investigated the effects of the presentation of stereotype-inconsistent information on stereotype change. The implications of three cognitive models of schema change-the "bookkeeping," "conversion," and "subtyping" models (Weber & Crocker, 1983)-were considered. Experiment 1 varied the pattern of stereotype-inconsistent information (concentrated in a few group members, dispersed across many, or intermediate between the two) to compare versions of these models. Trait ratings showed the greatest stereotype change when the stereotype-inconsistent information was dispersed across group members. Typicality measures showed the slight disconfirmers of the dispersed condition to be considered more typical of the group than the strong disconfirmers of the concentrated condition. This was emphasised by a sorting task: in the concentrated condition, the stereotype-disconfirmers were more strongly isolated from the rest of the group than in the dispersed conditions. Multiple regression analyses revealed that only the perceived typicality of disconfirmers mediated stereotype change. Experiment 2 replicated the main findings using microcomputer presentation and also varied the order of stereotypic trait ratings and typicality judgments. Again trait ratings showed the greatest stereotype change in the dispersed condition and reading times were longer for disconfirmers than confirmers, but only in the dispersed condition. Overall, these studies give strong support to a prototype version of the subtyping model.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)360-386
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1992
Externally publishedYes


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