Considering Correctness, Contrast, and Categorization in Stereotyping Phenomena
Diane Kobrynowicz The College of New Nersey
Monica Biernat University of Kansas
Bodenhausen and Macrae's model of stereotype activation and inhibition is impressive in scope, and we admire their goal of theoretical integration across multiple-level phenomena. Their understanding of stereotyping and person perception in terms of the two basic principles of activation/inhibition and hierarchical control is an elegant framework that offers much promise in unifying the area of stereotyping research.
Although we appreciate this framework, we have concerns with some of its details and assumptions. In addition, with any model of large scope, certain issues will inevitably be overlooked. In this commentary, we address what we believe to be some important aspects of stereotyping and person perception that are absent in Bodenhausen and Macrae's discussion. We raise three concerns: (a) that Bodenhausen and Macrae's model may only apply to negative or "bad" stereotypes; (b) that the model assumes that assimilation to stereotypes is the default process, despite the fact that contrastive or null effects of stereotypes occur with some frequency; and (c)