The Nature of Stereotypes: A Comparison and Integration of Three Theories

Lee Jussim, Lerita M. Coleman, Lauren Lerch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

224 Scopus citations


In the present research we examined predictions derived from the following three theoretical approaches to stereotyping: complexity-extremity theory, assumed characteristics theory, and expectancy-violation theory. In order to assess these predictions, we manipulated the race, personal appearance, and dialect style of target job applicants. White judges rated these applicants on a set of characteristics relevant to hiring decisions. Results were consistent with all three theories. Specifically, the range of judges' evaluations of black applicants was larger than the range of their evaluations of white applicants; the effects of personal appearance and dialect style were larger than the effects of race; and black applicants, on average, received more favorable ratings than white applicants. We present a model integrating all three perspectives, and we demonstrate its usefulness for explaining our results and for understanding past research on stereotypes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)536-546
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of personality and social psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1987


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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