The Influence of Exposure to Religious Symbols on Out-Group Stereotypes


The influence of religious content on out-group stereotypes was examined in two experiments, using supraliminal priming. Jewish and Arab-Muslim students completed a search puzzle by which they were exposed to religious concepts, and then they filled questionnaires assessing their stere-otypes. In Study 1 (N = 156), priming did not affect out-group stereotypes of Jewish participants. However, exposure to religious symbols had an influence on stereotypes among Muslim participants: They perceived Jewish people as more unpleasant when primed by Jewish symbols, and as more antagonistic when primed by Islamic symbols. Study 2 (N = 110) replicated these findings while ruling out the possibility that the null effect found for the Jewish group was due to reduced familiarity with out-group symbols. Thus, for the minority group, incidental exposure to religious concepts contributes to negative out-group stereotypes, and suggests the operation of implicit social cognition. The results also relate to models of stereotype content (Fiske et al., 2002), and motivation and opportunity (Fazio & Olson, 2014).

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Razpurker-Apfeld, I. & Shamoa-Nir, L. (2015). The Influence of Exposure to Religious Symbols on Out-Group Stereotypes. Psychology, 6, 650-663. doi: 10.4236/psych.2015.65063.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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