Psychology Dictionary of Arguments

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Haslam I 240
Illusory correlation/Berndsen: (Berndsen et al. 1998(1): in a standard illusory correlation study, the statements about the two groups are reinterpreted over the course fo the experiment. I. e., rather than the desirability and undesirability of the various statements being a constant, positive behaviors performed by the larger group come to be seen more positively, and negative behaviors performed by the minority come to be seen less positively.
Haslam I 241
Critically, searching for differences between groups can transform not just the perceptions of those groups but also the very information that those perceptions are based on.
Berndsen et al. (2001)(2) used a „thinking aloud“ procedure: they showed that most of the naive participants who were vievng the stimuli were engaged in a process of hypothesis-testing and a search for differentiated meaning (>Meaning/McGarty).
BerndsenVsGifford/BerndsenVsHamilton/McGarty: this again showed that the effects first observed by Hamilton and Gifford (>Illusory correlation/Gifford/Hamilton) are based not on a passive concern to simplify information, but on an active, effortful search after meaning. >Stereotypes/Social psychology, >Simplifcation/Psychological theories.


1. Berndsen, M., Spears, R., McGarty, C. and van der Pligt, J. (1998) ‘Dynamics of differentiation: Similarity as the precursor and product of stereotype formation’, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 74: 1451–63.
2. Berndsen, M., McGarty, C., van der Pligt, J. and Spears, R. (2001) ‘Meaning-seeking in the illusory correlation paradigm: The active role of participants in the categorization process’, British Journal of Social Psychology, 40: 209-34



Craig McGarty, „Stereotype Formation. Revisiting Hamilton and Gifford’s illusory correlation studies“, in: Joanne R. Smith and S. Alexander Haslam (eds.) 2017. Social Psychology. Revisiting the Classic studies. London: Sage Publications


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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution.
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.
Berndsen, Mariette
Haslam I
S. Alexander Haslam
Joanne R. Smith
Social Psychology. Revisiting the Classic Studies London 2017


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