Study: Positivity creates Nazis

Found an interesting study.


– Positive stereotypes are especially detrimental to egalitarian social perception.
– Exposure to a positive stereotype led to increased essentialism.
– Exposure to a positive stereotype led to increased application of prejudicial beliefs.
– These results were relative to baseline and negative stereotype exposure conditions.


The present research demonstrates that positive stereotypes – though often treated as harmless, flattering and innocuous – may represent an especially insidious means of promoting antiquated beliefs about social groups. Specifically, across four studies (and one replication), the authors demonstrate that exposure to positive stereotypes towards African Americans (i.e., they are superior athletes) are at once both especially unlikely to arouse skepticism and emotional vigilance while also especially likely to produce antiquated and harmful beliefs towards members of the target group (compared to both baseline conditions and exposure to negative stereotypes), including beliefs in the biological (or “natural”) underpinnings of group differences and, ironically, the application of negative stereotypes.

Basically, the way to produce Nazis (racial essentialists) is by portraying blacks and Jews in the best possible light. Racial essentialism is stupid, by the way, so I’m not saying this is a good thing. However, this suggests that from a propaganda perspective the Nazis would do well to focus on various positive stereotypes of each race, so as to attract extraverts and reinforce the underlying assumption of racial essentialism.

Findings like this tickle my disagreeableness, which is my primary motivation for sharing. It’s like the thing about Jews having low neuroticism: that pisses off everybody. When soccer players fake injuries and roll around on the grass whining and soccer haters take them at face value and call them a bunch of pussies everybody wins except me. I like the opposite, let’s look at how bitching about nonexistent injuries translates to wins-above-replacement…hey, it looks like this is just part of how the game is played if you want to win! Let’s call it what it is and ruin everything for everybody.

About Aeoli Pera

Maybe do this later?
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