The complexity-extremity effect and age-based stereotyping
Hypothesized that (a) people have a more complex cognitive representation of their own group than of other groups; (b) the less complex a person's representation of stimuli from a given domain, the more extreme will be the person's evaluations of stimuli from that domain; and (c) people will evaluate out-group members more extremely than in-group members. Using age as an in-group/out-group variable, Exp I supported the 1st hypothesis: Male undergraduates demonstrated greater complexity in their descriptions of their own age group than of an older age group. Results of Exps II and III support the 2nd hypothesis, with parallel findings for dispositional and manipulated complexity. Results from Exp II support the 3rd hypothesis in that younger males evaluated older male targets more extremely than they did younger ones. When the target was favorable, the older male was evaluated more positively than the younger one; when the target was unfavorable, the older male was evaluated more negatively. (52 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved). © 1982 American Psychological Association.
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