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Issue 2/2008

Okładka pierwszego numeru czasopisma Psychologia Społeczna


Stereotype and logical reasoning

Kinga Piber-Dąbrowska
Warsaw School of Social Psychology

Under the traditional approach, a stereotype is treated as a direct or indirect premise used in reasoning about a representative of a stereotyped category. The objective of the present article is to highlight a different role played by a stereotype: as a potential factor that can distort one's ability to reason sensu stricto, in other words independently of one's individual views, beliefs, and experiences. There are presented findings obtained by applying the two research paradigms most frequently utilized in the psychology of social cognition: one involves reasoning on the basis of statistical rules (more specifically: estimating covariance, or Simpson's paradox), the other involves reasoning using the rules of inferential logic (linear syllogisms). The results obtained with the Simpson's paradox paradigm confirm the results of classic studies on stereotypical reasoning: during reasoning about the relation of two categories of individuals, including one stereotyped category, conclusions are distorted to be more consistent with the stereotype than with the statistical premises. Results obtained using linear syllogisms, in turn, evidenced an additional - albeit poorly explored - effect of (negative) stereotype stimulation: the reasoning deficit here turns out to occur not so much with respect to the representative of a stereotyped category, as with respect to an individual who co-occurs but belongs to a different social group.

Key words: stereotype, logical reasoning, Simpson's paradox, linear syllogisms

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