Cultural Encounters: A Journal For The Theology Of Culture Volume 11 Number 1 (Winter 2015) - Page 36

THE PREEMINENCE OF CHRIST IN US - Cleveland Outgroup Homogeneity and Inaccurate Meta-perceptions Another nonconscious cognitive process that contributes to homogenous group formation and intergroup division is outgroup homogeneity.26 This process is a natural byproduct of group categorization processes and occurs when humans tend to view the ingroup as heterogenous but tend to view the outgroup as homogenous. Once individuals reach this conclusion, they are less motivated to interact with and learn about the outgroup. In one classic study, Patricia Linville asked elderly adults and college-aged adults to describe their age ingroup and age outgroup. She found that college-aged adults tended to see themselves as belonging to a heterogenous group. However, they perceived elderly adults as homogenous. They described older adults in simplistic ways, referring to them as “grandmothers,” “nursing home residents,” and “travelers.” Elderly adults showed the same pattern: they perceived themselves as heterogeneous and college-aged students as homogeneous. Elderly adults primarily described college-aged students in equally simplistic and homogenous ways. They called them “party animals,” “athletes,” and “fraternity or sorority types.” Additional research shows that people from China, Vietnam, and Japan perceive themselves as distinct from one another, but that many Westerners have a difficult time distinguishing between the groups. Liberals lump together all conservatives, and vice versa; drama majors talk of “math types,” and math majors talk of “drama types”; Californians boast of their cultural and ethnic diversity while non-Californians talk of the “typical Californian.”27 Perceptions of outgroup homogeneity fuel the stereotypes that are often considered to be the cognitive bases of prejudice.28 26. Patricia Linville, “The Complexity–Extremity Effect and Age-Based Stereotyping,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 42, no. 2 (1982): 193– 211. 27. Peter J. Hills and Michael B. Lewis, “Reducing the Own-Race Bias in Face Recognition by Shifting Attention,” The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology 59, no. 6 (2006): 996–1002; Christian A. Meissner, John C. Brigham, and David A. Butz, “Memory For Own- and Other-Race Faces: A Dual-Process Approach,” Applied Cognitive Psychology 19, no. 5 (2005): 545–567; Kathy Pezdek, Iris Blandon-Gitlin, and Catherine Moore, “Children’s Face Recognition Memory: More Evidence for the Cross-Race Effect,” Journal of Applied Psychology 88, no. 4 (2003): 760–763; Daniel B. Wright, Catherine E. Boyd, and Colin G. Tredoux, “Interracial Contact and the Own-Race Bias for Face Recognition in South Africa and England,” Applied Cognitive Psychology 17, no. 3 (2003): 365–373. 28. Mark Snyder and William B. Swann, “Behavioral Confirmation in Social Interaction: From Social Perception to Social Reality,” Journal of Experimental 35