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Title:Antecedents and Consequences of Perceived Group Variability
Author(s):Lambert, Alan Jeffrey
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Wyer, Robert S., Jr.
Department / Program:Psychology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Psychology, Social
Abstract:The present investigation examined (a) the factors that determine whether a group is perceived as homogeneous or heterogeneous and (b) the effects of these perceptions on judgments of single group members. In Experiment 1, the antecedents of perceived group variability were explored. Male and female subjects were asked to form an impression of a group of 50 persons on the basis of information provided about their performance on a test of perceptual-motor skills. The gender of the group (all male vs. all female) and the variability of performance across its members varied over conditions. No support was found for a attention-based conceptualization in which differential focus on the gender of the target group mediates perceptions of group variability. Results were more consistent with a theoretical model which assumes that differences in perceived group variability are mediated by differences in subjects' familiarity with members of the group.
In Experiment 2, the variability of the group was found to have several distinct consequences for the way that subjects processed information about new group members. Specifically, group variability affected (a) the likelihood of a particular group member being judged as typical, (b) the speed with which these typicality judgments were made, and (c) the extent to subjects actually used the target's typicality as a criterion for applying the group stereotype when forming additional inferences about the target. Overall, results confirmed an a priori conceptualization in which the typicality of an individual group member plays a much greater role in mediating stereotyping effects when the group is homogeneous than when the group is heterogeneous. The present findings challenge existing conceptualizations of stereotype-based inferences, which have historically ignored the role of group variability in social judgment.
Issue Date:1993
Description:124 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1993.
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI9314897
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-17
Date Deposited:1993

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