If stereotypes function to protect people against death-related concerns, then mortality salience should increase stereotypic thinking and preferences for stereotype-confirming individuals. Study 1 demonstrated that mortality salience increased stereotyping of Germans. In Study 2, it increased participants' tendency to generate more explanations for stereotype-inconsistent than stereotype-consistent gender role behavior. In Study 3, mortality salience increased participants' liking for a stereotype-consistent African American and decreased their liking for a stereotype-inconsistent African American; control participants exhibited the opposite preference. Study 4 replicated this pattern with evaluations of stereotype-confirming or stereotype-disconfirming men and women. Study 5 showed that, among participants high in need for closure, mortality salience led to decreased liking for a stereotype-inconsistent gay man.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Psychology
- Sociology and Political Science