Previous research has shown that an illusory correlation--the perception of an association between two variables that does not exist in the information on which observers' judgments are based--can be based on the co-occurrence of distinctive stimuli, and that this information processing bias can result in the differential perception of social groups. This research program traces the development and consequences of stereotypic beliefs established through this illusory correlation bias. The research investigates the effect of this bias on how people process and interpret subsequent information about group members, evaluate the products of group members, and behave toward group members. Mechanisms for preventing and undermining the stereotypic beliefs formed from illusory correlations are also investigated. The research will be informative about a process by which stereotypic conceptions of groups can develop and the consequences of holding such beliefs on information processing and interpersonal behavior.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
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Mental Health Behavioral Sciences Research Review Committee (BSR)
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University of California Santa Barbara
Schools of Arts and Sciences
Santa Barbara
United States
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Lewis, Amy C; Sherman, Steven J (2010) Perceived entitativity and the black-sheep effect: when will we denigrate negative ingroup members? J Soc Psychol 150:211-25
Spencer-Rodgers, Julie; Hamilton, David L; Sherman, Steven J (2007) The central role of entitativity in stereotypes of social categories and task groups. J Pers Soc Psychol 92:369-88
Lickel, Brian; Schmader, Toni; Hamilton, David L (2003) A case of collective responsibility: who else was to blame for the Columbine high school shootings? Pers Soc Psychol Bull 29:194-204
Sherman, Steven J; Castelli, Luigi; Hamilton, David L (2002) The spontaneous use of a group typology as an organizing principle in memory. J Pers Soc Psychol 82:328-42
Crawford, Matthew T; Sherman, Steven J; Hamilton, David L (2002) Perceived entitativity, stereotype formation, and the interchangeability of group members. J Pers Soc Psychol 83:1076-94
Lickel, B; Hamilton, D L; Wieczorkowska, G et al. (2000) Varieties of groups and the perception of group entitativity. J Pers Soc Psychol 78:223-46
Susskind, J; Maurer, K; Thakkar, V et al. (1999) Perceiving individuals and groups: expectancies, dispositional inferences, and causal attributions. J Pers Soc Psychol 76:181-91
McConnell, A R; Sherman, S J; Hamilton, D L (1997) Target entitativity: implications for information processing about individual and group targets. J Pers Soc Psychol 72:750-62
Hamilton, D L; Sherman, S J (1996) Perceiving persons and groups. Psychol Rev 103:336-55
Garcia-Marques, L; Hamilton, D L (1996) Resolving the apparent discrepancy between the incongruency effect and the expectancy-based illusory correlation effect: the TRAP model. J Pers Soc Psychol 71:845-60

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