Counter-stereotypes reduce emotional intergroup bias by eliciting surprise in the face of unexpected category combinations

Francesca Prati*, Richard J. Crisp, Monica Rubini

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In three experiments we investigated the impact that exposure to counter-stereotypes has on emotional reactions to outgroups. In Experiment 1, thinking about gender counter-stereotypes attenuated stereotyped emotions toward females and males. In Experiment 2, an immigrant counterstereotype attenuated stereotyped emotions toward this outgroup and reduced dehumanization tendencies. Experiment 3 replicated these results using an alternative measure of humanization. In both Experiments 2 and 3 sequential meditational analysis revealed that counter-stereotypes produced feelings of surprise which, in turn, elicited a cognitive process of expectancy violation which resulted in attenuated stereotyped emotions and an enhanced use of uniquely human characteristics to describe the outgroup. The findings extend research supporting the usefulness of counter-stereotype exposure for reducing prejudice and highlight its positive impact on intergroup emotions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-43
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
Early online date27 Jun 2015
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2015

Bibliographical note

© 2015, Elsevier. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International


  • counter-stereotype
  • dehumanization
  • intergroup emotion
  • multiple categorization
  • surprise


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