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Mindsets About Malleability and Intergroup Relations

Abstract

We live in a world rife with unwanted intergroup bias. Is this inevitable, or can it be changed? Recent research suggests that people’s perspectives on this question may determine which reality emerges, one in which intergroup relations come to be improved over time, or one in which they are continually marked by intergroup divisions and bias. This chapter reviews the body of research on mindsets about malleability and stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination both from the perspective of perceivers (who exhibit bias) and targets (who experience bias). Given the evidence showing the importance of mindsets about malleability for the production of bias, people’s responses to it, and real-world intergroup reconciliation, we advocate an approach to the study of intergroup relations that considers people’s lay theories about malleability. Throughout, we discuss the implications and open questions that arise from this theoretical perspective.

Keywords

  • Mindsets
  • Intergroup relations
  • Stereotyping
  • Prejudice
  • Discrimination

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Rattan, A., Georgeac, O. (2017). Mindsets About Malleability and Intergroup Relations. In: Zedelius, C., Müller, B., Schooler, J. (eds) The Science of Lay Theories. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-57306-9_6

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