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Using Groups to Measure Intergroup Prejudice

November 9, 2016 by

Implicit measures of racial attitudes often assess reactions to images of individuals to infer attitudes toward an entire social category. However, an increasing amount of research indicates that responses to individuals are highly dependent on context and idiosyncratic features of individual exemplars. Thus, using images of individuals to assess beliefs about a whole social category may not be ideal. Across three time points, we predicted that using images of groups would mitigate the influence of idiosyncratic features of individual targets and, thus, provide a better measurement tool to assess beliefs about a category to which all group members belong. Results revealed that an implicit measure that presented images of Black and White groups had greater construct validity, test–retest reliability, and predictive validity as compared with an implicit measure that presented the same exemplars individually. We conclude that groups provide a window into existing beliefs about social categories.

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