Cultural Encounters: A Journal For The Theology Of Culture Volume 11 Number 1 (Winter 2015) - Page 38

THE PREEMINENCE OF CHRIST IN US - Cleveland importantly, meta-perceptions tend to be overly pessimistic: ingroup members tend to think that the outgroup’s perception of the ingroup is far worse than it actually is. For example, research has shown that women think that men are judging them more negatively than men actually are, and vice versa.30 Further, gender groups often wrongly believe that groups of the opposite gender do not desire contact with them when the opposite is true. These effects have been demonstrated among various groups, including socioeconomic groups and ethnic groups within the United States and abroad.31 Inaccurate meta-perceptions collaborate with perceptions of outgroup homogeneity to produce an interactive effect. If ingroup members assume that they know what outgroup members are like, ingroup members can also assume that they already know what outgroup members think of the ingroup. This results in further conflict and less frequent meaningful interactions. Perceptions of outgroup homogeneity and inaccurate meta-perceptions form because individuals tend to spend the majority of their time with fellow ingroup members.32 As a result, they gather large and varied amounts of information about ingroup characteristics (e.g., how diverse and openminded ingroup members are) and remain relatively less informed about outgroup characteristics (e.g., how diverse and open-minded outgroup members are). In spite of an obvious lack of interaction with groups who hold different perspectives on issues, group members tend to think of themselves as experts on these groups. As a consequence, perceptions and meta-perceptions go unchallenged. The cognitive antecedents of intergroup division—group polarization and perspective divergence, inaccurate perceptions and inaccurate metaperceptions—are likely contributing to homogenous church groups and widening the divide between different church groups. Therefore, these processes need to be overcome in order to begin to create meaningful interactions between differing groups and ultimately break down unbiblical 30. Charles M. Judd et al., “Fundamental Dimensions of Social Judgment: Understanding the Relations between Competence and Warmth,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 89, no. 6 (2005): 899–913. 31. Yzerbyt, Judd, and Muller, “How Do They See Us?” 32. George A. Quattrone, “On the Perception of a Group’s Variability,” in Psychology of Intergroup Relations, 2nd ed., ed. Steven Worchel and William G. Austin (Chicago: Nelson-Hall, 1986), 25–48. 37