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Subtyping

Definition

Subtyping refers to a process whereby people come to view individuals who don't fit a stereotype as exceptions or as poor members of a group. The concept is important because it explains why people often do not change their stereotypes in the face of disconfirming information. Subtyping involves psychologically fencing off deviant group members so that perceivers need not consider information about those individuals when thinking about the group as a whole.

Background and Research

Early research on stereotype change showed that the same amount of stereotype disconfirming information was more likely to weaken a stereotype when it was dispersed across many group members rather than concentrated in only a few. In these studies, participants read about multiple group members who each exhibited various behaviors. Participants who ...

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