Shifting Standards and Stereotype-Based Judgments

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Abstract

Four studies tested a model of stereotype-based shifts in judgment standards developed by M. Biernat, M. Manis, and T. E. Nelson (1991). The model suggests that subjective judgments of target persons from different social groups may fail to reveal the stereotyped expectations of judges, because they invite the use of different evaluative standards; more “objective” or common rule indicators reduce such standard shifts. The stereotypes that men are more competent than women, women are more verbally able than men, Whites are more verbally able than Blacks, and Blacks are more athletic than Whites were successfully used to demonstrate the shifting standards phenomenon. Several individual-difference measures were also effective in predicting differential susceptibility to standard shifts, and direct evidence was provided that differing comparison standards account for substantial differences in target ratings.

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