Social projection vs. self-stereotyping : the role of socio-cognitive mindsets in the activation of cognitive inferential processes

Thurner, Florian

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URN: urn:nbn:de:bsz:180-madoc-462393
Document Type: Doctoral dissertation
Year of publication: 2018
Place of publication: Mannheim
University: Universität Mannheim
Evaluator: Meiser, Thorsten
Date of oral examination: 5 September 2018
Publication language: English
Institution: School of Social Sciences > Psychologische Methodenlehre u. Diagnostik (Meiser 2009-)
Subject: 150 Psychology
Subject headings (SWD): Psychologie , Dissertation , Sozialpsychologie , Stereotyp , Priming
Keywords (English): social cognition , self-construal , situated cognition , social projection , self-stereotyping
Abstract: In which way does the priming of socio-cognitive mindsets influence the predominance of cognitive inferential processes? Incorporating research on social-status differences on the one hand and on cross-cultural differences on the other hand, this dissertation takes a new perspective on the directionality issue of cognitive inferential processes. Based on previous research in these areas, it is assumed that the currently active mode of self-construal constitutes a fundamental factor which influences the construction of personal experience and behavior and which determines the direction of cognitive inferential processes: Socio-cognitive mindsets are proposed to account for a basic factor which influences the individual’s way of construing his or her world. It was hypothesized that an independent mindset with its distinctive focus on the individual would cause a person to interpret his or her world from the individual’s point of view (social projection). On the other hand, it was suggested that an interdependent mindset with its more pronounced focus on social context and on other persons would trigger the reversed process (self-stereotyping). After these initial hypotheses could not be confirmed in the course of three experiments, an alternative hypothesis was suggested in an attempt to explain the contrary but largely consistent results. In the second part of this thesis, implications of Optimal Distinctiveness Theory (Brewer, 1991) were taken into account. A person’s individually preferred level of distinctiveness was suggested to depend on the currently active socio-cognitive mindset. As a post-hoc explanation, it was proposed that, via the employed priming methods, reactant responses may inadvertently have been triggered: participants’ preferred equilibrium may have been shifted undesirably along the dimension personal vs. social identity. As a result, participants may have engaged in corresponding compensating counter-reactions. A final experiment was conducted in an attempt to replicate previously obtained paradox effects and to make them directly visible.

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