Measuring individual differences in stereotyping intensity : the effects of processing goals on the implicit ratio.
In the course of four initial studies a new stereotype measure is developed which captures
ingroup serving generalisations. The new implicit ratio technique draws on experiences
gained from using existing instruments to assess stereotyping. It combines the
probabilistic approach of diagnostic ratios (McCauley & Stitt, 1978) with elements
introduced by Esses et al. (1993), using perceiver-generated idiosyncratic stereotypic
material which is qualified for meaning. The implicit ratio assesses individual levels of
generalisation. The trait frequency processing involved in generalisation was found to be
consistently biased in favour of the ingroup. Trait frequency bias tends to be spontaneous,
automatic and largely independent of specific content or context.
Since mere categorization into arbitrary groups already elicits trait frequency bias, four
further studies examine perceivers' level of control over trait frequency processing.
Changing attributional perspective towards the ingroup as a whole accentuated bias,
whereas heightened accountability and direct instructions to suppress stereotyping
reduced it. However, significant inhibition of bias as result of suppression instructions
were restricted to within subjects designs. After these instructions are relaxed trait
frequency bias recovers in strength.
The differential effect of category primes on content valence and trait frequency bias
suggests a direct effect of manipulations, merely mediated by content dilution.
Differences between semantic suppression and inhibition of trait frequency bias are
discussed. The discussion extends to the usefulness of the implicit ratio as an
experimental tool and to wider implications of the trait frequency bias approach to