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Subtyping

The term subtyping refers to creating narrower, more specific mental categories, such as businesswoman or homemaker, within a broader social category, such as women. For example, common elderly subtypes include kind grandmothers, frequent travelers, and curmudgeons. Forming subtypes within a broad category provides more differentiated expectations and evaluations about group members but can also protect an existing general stereotype from exceptions that disconfirm it.

The term subtyping has been used in slightly different ways in two research streams. The first shows that as people become familiar with a group, they perceive distinctions and create multiple subtypes of members who are similar to each other in ways that differentiate them from other members, thus capturing the variability within a group. In this entry, subtyping refers to ...

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