Meaning and Automatic Stereotyping: Advancing an Agenda for Research

  • Ivonne A. FlorezEmail author
  • Stefan E. Schulenberg
  • Tracie L. Stewart
Conference paper
Part of the Logotherapy and Existential Analysis: Proceedings of the Viktor Frankl Institute Vienna book series (LOGO EXIST, volume 1)


Perceived meaning in life positively and significantly correlates with adaptive characteristics such as cognitive flexibility, altruism, self-transcendence, social relatedness, and values-directed behavior. Furthermore, one recent study has evidenced that perceived meaning in life is related to automatic stereotyping—the spontaneous activation of often-negative beliefs about a particular group of people. In this case greater perceived meaning was associated with less automatic stereotyping. Despite the significant implications of these initial findings, there is no systematic research that has been conducted with regard to better understanding how perceived meaning and automatic stereotyping relate to one another. The purpose of the present chapter is to advance a research agenda for the integration of what has up to this point been two separate areas of scientific inquiry. Thus, we argue for the inclusion of perceived meaning in studies of automatic stereotyping, advocating for the potential benefits that perceived meaning in life offers with respect to adaptive social interactions, and with particular regard to less automatic stereotyping. Researchers are encouraged to consider new lines of empirical inquiry that expand the science of perceived meaning, advancing our understanding of the concept as well as potential applications for a broad spectrum of intrapersonal and interpersonal processes.


Perceived meaning in life Automatic stereotyping Implicit stereotyping Prejudice Logotherapy Positive psychology Self-esteem Terror Management Theory 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ivonne A. Florez
    • 1
    Email author
  • Stefan E. Schulenberg
    • 1
  • Tracie L. Stewart
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyThe University of MississippiUniversityUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyKennesaw State UniversityKennesawUSA

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