Enhancing the Impact of Counterstereotypic Information: Dispositional Attributions for Deviance

David A. Wilder, Andrew F. Simon, Myles Faith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Counterstereotypic behavior by a single out-group member often fails to change out-group stereotypes because it can be dismissed as an exception to the rule. The impact of the "exception" can be strengthened by making the exception appear to be a typical out-group member and by encouraging a dispositional attribution for the exception's counterstereotypic behavior. These hypotheses were supported in 3 experiments using both artificial and real social categories and both positive and negative stereotypes. When counterstereotypic behavior by a typical member of the out-group was attributed to a stable internal cause, it was effective in moderating out-group stereotypes. However, the same behavior had virtually no impact when it was either performed by an atypical group member or attributed to external causes or to unstable internal causes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)276-287
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of personality and social psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1996

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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