The Sweet Spot: Curvilinear Effects of Media Exemplar Typicality on Stereotype Change

Nick Joyce, Jake Harwood, Sheila Springer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Young adults were exposed to experimentally manipulated stereotypical, counterstereotypical, or extremely counterstereotypical media depictions of an older adult driving. Perceptions of exemplar typicality and beliefs about older adults' driving ability were assessed. The results support a curvilinear model in which there is a point, or "sweet spot," where exemplars are perceived as typical enough of their group to be seen as cognitively related and relevant to perceptions of the group, but still atypical enough to change perceptions and beliefs. We discuss implications of these findings for group-related cognitions, subtyping, and media depictions of older adults.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Media Psychology
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2019



  • counterstereotypes
  • media
  • older adults
  • stereotypes
  • typicality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Communication
  • Applied Psychology

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