Mood and stereotyping : a self-categorization theory approach release_74aqur7uv5btll2c4snewcothe

by Janet Helen Tweedie, University, The Australian National, University, The Australian National

Published by The Australian National University.



This thesis examines the role of mood in the social psychological process of stereotyping. We ask the question: how does an individual's mood affect the way in which they perceive both others and themselves in terms of their social identity? This area of research originally developed as an attempt to integrate findings from two important fields: affect and cognition, and group behaviour and stereotyping. Importantly, the overarching meta-theory in which these areas of research have traditionally been embedded is that of the cognitive miser (Fiske & Taylor, 1984). Previous research has conceptualised stereotypes as somewhat rigid, inflexible by-products of the way in which we perceive our social world. Research has focussed largely on the categorization process as an information reduction mechanism that enables us to cope with our cognitive limitations. Along with this emphasis, stereotyping has been inextricably linked to prejudice and discrimination. About the same time as the cognitive miser metaphor was dominant in stereotyping research, a resurgence of interest into the effects of mood on cognition was in place. This quickly grew into a large and influential body of work that focussed on the way in which mood influences information processing strategies. Positive moods were linked to heuristic processing and negative moods to substantive processing. The integration of these areas of research led to the examination of mood's effects on stereotyping. As stereotypes were seen as a form of cognitive shortcut, they were associated with heuristic processing while individuation was associated with substantive processing strategies. Findings in the area reflected the idea that happy moods are more likely to lead to stereotyping and sad moods to individuation due to these associations. An alternative to the cognitive miser approach however, is that of the perceiver as meaning-seeker (Bruner, 1957; Oakes, 1987; Oakes & Turner, 1991). This conceptualisation is critical to the understanding of categorization with [...]
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