ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B

›› 2007, Vol. 39 ›› Issue (06): 1025-1033.

### The Patterns and Function of Information Representation in Stereotype

Wang Pei,Yang Yaping

1. School of Education, Shanghai Normal University, Shanghai 200234, China
• Received:2007-03-14 Revised:1900-01-01 Published:2007-11-30 Online:2007-11-30
• Contact: Wang Pei

Abstract: Information is organized on the principle of valence-consistency in the stereotype representation according to the study of Quinn et al. (2004). In their study, however, they simply studied two neutral stereotypes. If there was an extremely strong positive or negative stereotype towards a group, was information still organized in way mentioned above? Given this, this paper studied in detail the patterns of information representation in stereotype and its function by choosing stereotypes of three professions with different valences(namely positive, neutral and negative). At the same time, the paper verified the following hypotheses: The pattern in which positive information integrated with the positive one while the negative one with the negative one was available in the information representation of stereotype. The pattern had a parallel facilitation-inhibition effect in social cognition.
This study used retrieval-practice paradigm and recognition paradigm to probe the above hypotheses. 288 subjects were randomly chosen from one university. The procedure of the experiment was planned by a computer program designed with VB 6.0. The experiment was divided into 5 stages, namely, stimulation, study, retrieval-practice, distraction and recognition.
The results verified the following hypotheses: Regardless of the valence of stereotypes, the patterns of information representation adhered to the principle of valence-consistency, i.e. positive information integrated closely with the positive one while the negative one with the negative one. Besides, some unexpected results were found, i.e. the retrieval for negative information and the features related to women is better.
This study has important implications in the theory of social cognition. It tested for the first time the patterns of information representation in stereotype and its function; it shows that, when there are conflicts among stereotypes towards a target, the process of facilitation and that of inhibition function together, which make it possible that a consistent judgment is formed by only using fewer cognitive resources; the results of this study tested the typical preference for the negative information and prejudice against women in the course of social perception.

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