Cultural Encounters: A Journal For The Theology Of Culture Volume 11 Number 1 (Winter 2015) - Page 39

VOLUME 11, NUMBER 1 A JOURNAL FOR THE THEOLOGY OF CULTURE divisions. Research demonstrates that cognitive processes are most powerful when they occur outside of conscious awareness.33 Once individuals become consciously aware of these processes, they can use motivation and cognitive vigilance to overcome them. For example, if an individual is intrinsically motivated to accurately perceive a different group’s heterogeneity, she should be able to override automatic perceptions of outgroup homogeneity by consciously rejecting the default and seeking an accurate perception.34 One way to do this is by focusing on individual characteristics rather than group characteristics. When an individual has specific personal information about a person, group categories and other preconceptions become less relevant and are less likely to impact how she perceives that person.35 The Emotional Antecedents to Disunity Social Identity and Self-Esteem Emotional processes such as self-esteem affect and are affected by group processes. According to social identity theory, self-esteem is closely tied to group memberships because group identities often overlap with perceptions of the self. For example, not only do people think of themselves as individuals, but they also think of themselves in terms of their many group memberships: gender group, social-roles groups (i.e., father, sister, spouse, friend, teammate, married, single, etc.), ethnicity group, occupational group, political group, and so on. To the extent that these groups are important to individuals, they will expand their sense of self to include them in their identity.36 The more an individual is invested in group memberships, the 33. John A. Bargh and Erin L. Williams, “The Automaticity of Social Life,” Current Directions in Psychological Science 15, no. 1 (2006): 1–4. 34. Ernestine H. Gordijn et al., “Consequences of Stereotype Suppression and Internal Suppression Motivation: A Self-Regulation Approach,” Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 30, no. 2 (2004): 212–224; Natalie A. Wyer, Jeffrey W. Sherman, and Steven J. Stroessner, “The Roles of Motivation and Ability in Controlling the Consequences of Stereotype Suppression,” Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 26, no. 1 (2000): 13–25. 35. James L. Hilton and Steven Fein, “The Role of Typical Diagnosticity in Stereotype-Based Judgments,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 57, no. 2 (1989): 201–211. 36. Eliot R. Smith, Susan Coats, and Dustin Watling, “Overlapping Mental Representations of Self, Ingroup and Partner: Further Response-Time Evidence and a 38