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      Rethinking the link between categorization and prejudice within the social cognition perspective.

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          Abstract

          For the past 40 years, social psychological research on stereotyping and prejudice in the United States has been dominated by the social cognition perspective, which has emphasized the important role of basic categorization processes in intergroup dynamics. An inadvertent consequence of this approach has been a disproportionate focus on social categorization as a causal factor in intergroup animosity and, accordingly, an emphasis on approaches that minimize category distinctions as the solution to intergroup conflict. Though recognizing the crucial function of categorization, we question existing support for the hypothesis that the perception of strong group differences necessarily results in greater intergroup bias. Given that it is neither feasible nor ultimately desirable to imagine that social categories can be eliminated, we suggest that a more useful approach is one that promotes intergroup harmony even while recognizing and valuing the distinctions that define our social world.

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          Author and article information

          Journal
          Pers Soc Psychol Rev
          Personality and social psychology review : an official journal of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Inc
          Informa UK Limited
          1088-8683
          1532-7957
          2005
          : 9
          : 2
          Affiliations
          [1 ] Department of Psychology, University of Colorado, USA. bpark@psych.colorado.edu
          Article
          10.1207/s15327957pspr0902_2
          15869378

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