To reduce prejudice psychologists design interventions requiring people to think of counter-stereotypes (i.e., people who defy stereotypic expectations-a strong woman, a Black President). Grounded in the idea that stereotypes constrain the ability to think flexibly, we propose that thinking of counter-stereotypes can have benefits that extend beyond the goal of prejudice reduction-in particular to tasks measuring cognitive flexibility and creative performance. Findings supported this conjecture. In Experiment 1 priming a gender counter-stereotype enhanced cognitive flexibility. This effect could not be attributed to changes in mood. In Experiment 2, using a gender-independent manipulation, priming various social counter-stereotypes brought a boost to creative performance. We discuss implications of these extended benefits of counter-stereotypic thinking for developing future prejudice-reduction interventions.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Psychology
- Cultural Studies
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- Sociology and Political Science