The roles of in-group exemplars and ethnicracial identification in self-stereotyping

Luis M. Rivera, Sandra Benitez

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

5 Scopus citations


African Americans' self-concept is susceptible to pervasive cultural stereotypes. However, exposure to in-group exemplars such as Barack Obama as a prominent, admired African American may be accessible enough to attenuate the detrimental effects of stereotypes. In two experiments, African- American adolescent (Pilot Experiment) and adult (Main Experiment) participants were provided with information about outstanding successes and societal contributions of Obama as a single in-group exemplar (Pilot and Main Experiments) or multiple in-group exemplars (e.g., Obama, Oprah Winfrey; Main Experiment). Then, participants reported the extent to which they associated their self-concept with stereotypes. The Pilot Experiment supported an "Obama effect"-African-American adolescents exhibited less self-stereotyping after exposure to Obama, when compared to those in a control condition. The Main Experiment demonstrated that exposure to Obama or multiple exemplars yielded less self-stereotyping, but only among strongly identified African Americans. Implications for the importance of role models in combating the effect of stigma on the self-concept are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)604-623
Number of pages20
JournalSocial Cognition
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


  • African American
  • Ethnic-racial identification
  • Exemplar
  • Obama effect
  • Self-stereotyping

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