Assimilation and Contrast Effects in the Judgments of Groups

David A. Wilder, John E. Thompson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


In a series of four experiments, we examined the impact of varying the salience of an extremely different out-group on subjects' evaluations of a moderately different out-group. Evaluations of the moderately different out-group were accentuated when the extreme out-group was present: In a preliminary study and in Experiment 1, the moderate out-group was rated more poorly; in Experiments 1, 2, and 3, it was rated more favorably. Results were interpreted in a social judgment framework. Evidence from Experiment 3 indicated that salience of the extreme out-group was associated with a shift in the positions subjects thought the moderate out-group espoused. This shift in judgment may have brought about or at least justified the change in subjects' evaluations of the moderate out-group. Implications for intergroup relations are considered in the discussion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)62-73
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of personality and social psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1988

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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