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Providing Expert Knowledge in an Adversarial Context: Social Cognitive Science in Employment Discrimination Cases

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Annual Review of Law and Social Science

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      Abstract

      Quality science provides the foundation for expert testimony in court, a claim illustrated here by three established principles of social cognition frequently applied to litigation in employment discrimination cases. First, dual processes, automatic and controlled, underlie “hidden” bias. The Implicit Association Test exemplifies one controversial but scientifically tractable application of such automaticity principles. Second, encoding and attention reveal incredibly early bias. Their potential application via neuroscience in the courtroom will challenge both science and the law. Third, mental construal produces categorical representation. Legal applications show categories’ tenacity despite commonsense expectations about the impact of individuating information. Psychological scientists, expert witnesses, legal scholars, legal practitioners, and organizational managers each benefit when quality science is imported into legal contexts. Normal science disagreements should not mistakenly tarnish the credibility of quality science.

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      Most cited references 114

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      Stereotypes and prejudice: Their automatic and controlled components.

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        A meta-analytic test of intergroup contact theory.

        The present article presents a meta-analytic test of intergroup contact theory. With 713 independent samples from 515 studies, the meta-analysis finds that intergroup contact typically reduces intergroup prejudice. Multiple tests indicate that this finding appears not to result from either participant selection or publication biases, and the more rigorous studies yield larger mean effects. These contact effects typically generalize to the entire outgroup, and they emerge across a broad range of outgroup targets and contact settings. Similar patterns also emerge for samples with racial or ethnic targets and samples with other targets. This result suggests that contact theory, devised originally for racial and ethnic encounters, can be extended to other groups. A global indicator of Allport's optimal contact conditions demonstrates that contact under these conditions typically leads to even greater reduction in prejudice. Closer examination demonstrates that these conditions are best conceptualized as an interrelated bundle rather than as independent factors. Further, the meta-analytic findings indicate that these conditions are not essential for prejudice reduction. Hence, future work should focus on negative factors that prevent intergroup contact from diminishing prejudice as well as the development of a more comprehensive theory of intergroup contact. Copyright 2006 APA.
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          Role congruity theory of prejudice toward female leaders.

          A role congruity theory of prejudice toward female leaders proposes that perceived incongruity between the female gender role and leadership roles leads to 2 forms of prejudice: (a) perceiving women less favorably than men as potential occupants of leadership roles and (b) evaluating behavior that fulfills the prescriptions of a leader role less favorably when it is enacted by a woman. One consequence is that attitudes are less positive toward female than male leaders and potential leaders. Other consequences are that it is more difficult for women to become leaders and to achieve success in leadership roles. Evidence from varied research paradigms substantiates that these consequences occur, especially in situations that heighten perceptions of incongruity between the female gender role and leadership roles.
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            Author and article information

            Journal
            Annual Review of Law and Social Science
            Annu. Rev. Law. Soc. Sci.
            Annual Reviews
            1550-3585
            1550-3631
            December 2008
            December 2008
            : 4
            : 1
            : 123-148
            10.1146/annurev.lawsocsci.4.110707.172350
            © 2008

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