Psych 3CD3 Thursday, March 20, 2014
PNS and Stereotype Formation
Schaller et al. (1995)
• Does PNS lead to stereotype formation as well as use?
• Proposed mechanism?
o Biased reasoning processes aimed at imposing single structure of new
o Brought subjects into the lab for an impression formation experience of
group A and group B on the basis of their ability to unscramble anagrams
o The subjects were to make a judgment about which group was smarter
o Subjects shown 50 slides (25 for A and 25 for B), each representing 4
pieces of information
o Some anagrams are easier than others, while some are harder
o Aggregate success rate 40% vs. B success rate 60%
o 5letter anagrams
o Most of group A’s anagrams were hard, while group B’s were easy
o On both types of anagrams, group A does better
o PNS predicted the extent to which people thought through all of the
• PNS significantly correlated with accuracy of impression re. group A vs.
group B intelligence
o Low PNS
Recognized that group A is the smarter group
o High PNS
See group B as the more intelligent group
• Personsituation interaction?
o When PNS is the primary structure, individuals cannot adjust
o Someone high in PNS might not be able to stop themselves from using
stereotypes in situations when they need to suppress stereotype use
Need for Cognitive Closure
• What is it?
o People with need for closure do like to have an answer and do not like
As soon as there is an answer, you will seize it because of a sense
of urgency Once you have the answer, you will never let go of it
You have no interest in any new information
• Why would it be related to stereotype use and prejudice?
o If the first idea you grasp is a stereotype, you will freeze on it, and no one
can tell you anything different
o Dijksterhuis et al. (1996) on NCC and biased memory, bi