Semantic network model of stereotypes (Anderson, 1974) suggested that categorizing a person as old increases the accessibility of all traits that are characteristic for the group of old people (like being helpless, wise, frail, or generous). This indicates that category alone is sufficient for an activation of all traits that belong to the stereotype of a category.
However, there are several objections to this so called fan effect. First, the amount of activation has to be distributed across all the traits so that the activation strength of each trait could be weak if all the traits become activated simultaneously. Second, it’s futile and helpless for the individual to activate those stereotypical traits which are unrelated to the current context. Besides the theoretical objections, a replication study by Müller and Rothermund (2014) failed to replicate the former finding that simple category prime is enough to activate stereotype.
A series of experiments conducted by Casper, Wentura and Rothermund (2010, 2011) found category-by-context effects which indicated that only the combination of category (e.g., young vs. old) and context (e.g., the context in which a person is encountered, or the specific behavior that is shown by a person) is able to activate stereotype. These category-by-context effects were further explained by Casper and her colleagues (2011) as supper-additive effects, which means that the effects of the combination of category and context information are not simple additive effects of category and context. However, this was mere post-hoc explanation.
In this Empiriepraktikum, using a picture priming paradigm in combined with lexical decision task, we aim to investigate whether category-by-context effects appear when category and context are processed in an additive versus super-additive way. This study will be able to answer the operating condition of category-by-context effects in stereotype activation and further uncover how stereotypes are represented by category and context.
Class sessions will be conducted in English by M. Sc. Tingting Huang. All literature will be in English. The first study will be developed, conducted and analyzed during the Wintersemester, the second study will take place in the Sommersemester. The results will be presented in the form of a Poster at the EmPra-Kongress.
Wintersemester: Regelmässige Teilnahme, aktive Mitarbeit bei der Planung der Studie und schriftlichen Bericht (4 ECTS)
Sommersemester: Regelmässige Teilnahme, aktive Mitarbeit bei der Durchführung der Studie und Posterpräsentation beim Empra-Kongress (4 ECTS)