Superior Pattern Detectors Efficiently Learn, Activate, Apply, and Update Social Stereotypes

David J. Lick, Adam L. Alter, Jonathan Freeman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Superior cognitive abilities are generally associated with positive outcomes such as academic achievement and social mobility. Here, we explore the darker side of cognitive ability, highlighting robust links between pattern detection and stereotyping. Across 6 studies, we find that superior pattern detectors efficiently learn and use stereotypes about social groups. This pattern holds across explicit (Studies 1 and 2), implicit (Studies 2 and 4), and behavioral measures of stereotyping (Study 3). We also find that superior pattern detectors readily update their stereotypes when confronted with new information (Study 5), making them particularly susceptible to counterstereotype training (Study 6). Pattern detection skills therefore equip people to act as naïve empiricists who calibrate their stereotypes to match incoming information. These findings highlight novel effects of individual aptitudes on social-cognitive processes. (PsycINFO Database Record

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: General
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Jul 20 2017

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Aptitude
Stereotyping
Social Mobility

Keywords

  • Cognitive ability
  • Pattern detection
  • Social cognition
  • Stereotyping

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Psychology(all)
  • Developmental Neuroscience

Cite this

Superior Pattern Detectors Efficiently Learn, Activate, Apply, and Update Social Stereotypes. / Lick, David J.; Alter, Adam L.; Freeman, Jonathan.

In: Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 20.07.2017.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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