Friday, 15 July 2016

JUST PUBLISHED: Meta-analysis shows a Goldy Lock’s effect in stereotype change and paves the way to UON-Oxford Research Centre for Social Inclusion

Negative stereotypes—along ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability and mental health—are a real and ongoing problem within Australia and around the world. Researchers, politicians and policy makers are allies in trying to reduce them, at times with limited success. A meta-analysis of over three decades of diverse research on stereotype change just published on the European Review of Social Psychology by UON Kylie McIntyre and Stefania Paolini and Miles Hewstone from Oxford University identifies a Goldilocks effect and a critical role of meta-cognitions in stereotype change.

The meta-analysis reveals that people change their stereotyped views of others especially when they receive the right ‘quality’ and ‘quantity’ of information not fitting their stereotype. To paraphrase Goldilocks (yes, the one with the three bears) the stereotype incongruent information cannot be ‘too much’ or ‘too few’, but needs to be ‘just right’. It should not be ‘too extremely’ or ‘too typical’ but again needs to be ‘just right’.

Interestingly, McIntyre, Paolini and Hewstone’s meta-analysis also found that people use higher level meta-cognitive skills when building up their stereotyped judgments. As a result of accessible  meta-information cues, stereotype incongruent information can paradoxically exacerbate stereotypes and stereotype congruent attenuate them depending on the cognitive inclusion or exclusion of available information from the judgment under construction and information quality. Their paper invites further research onto these interesting ironic effects to fully understand the role of meta-cognition in changing negative stereotypes.

The publication serves as a welcome milestone in strengthening existing ties between UON School of Psychology and Oxford University towards the establishment of a new UoN-Oxford Centre for Research on Social Cohesion and conflict. The long-term vision for the Centre is to lead research on social integration and conflict between groups in the Australasian region and be recognised internationally for its impact on policy making and interventions.  

The article ‘McIntyre, K., Paolini, S. & Hewstone, M. (2016). Changing people’s views of outgroups through individual-to-group generalisation: Meta-analytic reviews and theoretical considerations. European Review of Social Psychology’ can be accessed as penultima here's_views_of_outgroups_through_individual-to-group_generalisation_meta-analytic_reviews_and_theoretical_considerations