Numerous studies have found that perspective-taking reduces stereotyping and prejudice, but they have only involved negative stereotypes. Because target negativity has been empirically confounded with reduced stereotyping, the general effects of perspective-taking on stereotyping and prejudice are unclear. By including both positively and negatively stereotyped targets, this research offers the first empirical test of two competing hypotheses: The positivity hypothesis predicts that perspective-taking produces a positivity bias, with less stereotyping of negative targets but more stereotyping of positive targets. In contrast, the stereotype-reduction hypothesis predicts that perspective-taking reduces stereotyping, regardless of target valence. Three studies support the stereotype-reduction hypothesis. Perspective-taking also produced less positive attitudes toward positive targets, with reduced stereotyping mediating this effect. A final study demonstrated that perspective-taking reduced all stereotyping because it increased self-other overlap. These findings help answer fundamental questions about perspective-taking's effects and processes, and provide evidence that perspective-taking does not improve attitudes invariantly.

C.S. Wang, G. Ku, K. Tai, and Adam Galinsky
Journal Article
Publication Date
Social Psychological and Personality Science

Full Citation

Wang, C.S., G. Ku, K. Tai, and Adam Galinsky
. “Stupid doctors and smart construction workers: Perspective-taking reduces stereotyping of both negative and positive targets.”
Social Psychological and Personality Science
, (May 01, 2014):