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Perspective taking and member‐to‐group generalization of implicit racial attitudes: The role of target prototypicality


European Journal of Social Psychology

Published online on


Actively considering an individual outgroup member's thoughts, feelings, and other subjective experiences —perspective taking— can improve attitudes toward that person's group. Here, we tested whether such member‐to‐group generalization of implicit racial attitudes is more likely when perspective‐taking targets are viewed as prototypical of their racial group. Results supported a gendered‐race‐prototype hypothesis: The positive effect of perspective taking on implicit attitudes toward Black people and Asian people, respectively, was stronger when the perspective‐taking target was a Black man or Asian woman (gender–race prototypical) versus a Black woman or Asian man (gender–race nonprototypical). These findings identify a boundary condition under which perspective taking may not improve intergroup attitudes and add to a growing literature on social cognition at the intersection of multiple social categories.