Examining the Source and Function of Meta-stereotypes in a Five-College Context



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This project aimed to add to the stereotype literature by providing a first look at the sources of meta-stereotype content and functions of meta-stereotyping in a novel intergroup setting: the Five College Consortium. Meta-stereotypes are the beliefs that members in one group hold about how their own group (in-group) is stereotyped by other groups (out-groups). Study 1 explored possible sources of meta-stereotypes through descriptive and correlational analysis. Study 2 was a functional analysis of meta-stereotyping. Data were collected from all five schools. Study 1 suggested that social status and inter-group competition and auto-stereotypes were both sources of meta-stereotypes. Study 2 found no direct support for the hypothesis that group members apply meta-stereotypes to themselves personally to fulfill their need for group distinctiveness, possibly due to the unsuccessful experimental manipulation. Implications for inter-group relations and possible alternative functions of meta-stereotyping were discussed.



stereotype, meta-stereotype, auto-stereotype, optimal distinctiveness, inter-group relations