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Happy People Donâ€™t Follow the Stereotype: The Impact of Mood on Stereotyping
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by S. Katherine Nelson and Holly H. Schiffrinâ€”University of Mary Washington
Category: Emotion | Social
Research has revealed that positive mood contributes to both broadened (i.e., more inclusive) categorizations and to increased reliance on heuristics (e.g., stereotypes). Bodenhausen, Mussweiler, Gabriel, and Moreno (2001) explained this equivocal research in light of four stages at which stereotyping can occur. The current study tests the first two of these four stages: stereotype categorization and activation, in the context of racial stereotyping. The study did not replicate findings of previous research that positive mood influences reliance on heuristics and broadened categorization. However, a relationship between category and race emerged, indicating that across mood conditions, participants rated European-Americans higher than African-Americans for likelihood of being in the category politician. In addition, participants rated a higher proportion of European-American than African-American names as politicians and a higher proportion of African-American names than European-American names as criminals. Results are discussed in terms of the nature of the stimuli, the mood induction procedures, and how this study fits with the stages of stereotyping.