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The role of need for closure in essentialist entitativity beliefs and prejudice: an epistemic needs approach to racial categorization

Arne Roets (UGent) and Alain Van Hiel (UGent)
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Abstract
The present research investigates how people’s general epistemic motives may inspire essentialist beliefs about racial groups and racism. In three studies, we focus particularly on essentialist entitativity (EE, referring to beliefs about the uniformity, informativeness, and inherent core of racial groups), probing into its relationships with epistemic Need for Closure (NFC) and prejudice. In Study 1, we develop an EE scale, empirically distinguish it from the naturalness component of essentialism and non-essentialist entitativity beliefs, and establish its predictive utility for explaining racial prejudice. Study 2 provides experimental evidence for the causal effect of NFC on EE beliefs. Study 3 demonstrates in three different samples that EE beliefs mediate the relationship between dispositional NFC and racial prejudice. It is argued that EE beliefs about racial groups are an expression of motivated social cognition, serving people’s seizing needs for quick and easy social judgment.
Keywords
PERCEIVED GROUP VARIABILITY, CONSERVATIVE BELIEFS, MOTIVATED SOCIAL COGNITION, PSYCHOLOGICAL ESSENTIALISM, DOMINANCE ORIENTATION, DIMENSIONAL STRUCTURE, AUTHORITARIANISM, SCALE, CONSEQUENCES, ANTECEDENTS

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Chicago
Roets, Arne, and Alain Van Hiel. 2011. “The Role of Need for Closure in Essentialist Entitativity Beliefs and Prejudice: An Epistemic Needs Approach to Racial Categorization.” British Journal of Social Psychology 50 (1): 52–73.
APA
Roets, Arne, & Van Hiel, A. (2011). The role of need for closure in essentialist entitativity beliefs and prejudice: an epistemic needs approach to racial categorization. BRITISH JOURNAL OF SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY, 50(1), 52–73.
Vancouver
1.
Roets A, Van Hiel A. The role of need for closure in essentialist entitativity beliefs and prejudice: an epistemic needs approach to racial categorization. BRITISH JOURNAL OF SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY. 2011;50(1):52–73.
MLA
Roets, Arne, and Alain Van Hiel. “The Role of Need for Closure in Essentialist Entitativity Beliefs and Prejudice: An Epistemic Needs Approach to Racial Categorization.” BRITISH JOURNAL OF SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY 50.1 (2011): 52–73. Print.
@article{1255261,
  abstract     = {The present research investigates how people{\textquoteright}s general epistemic motives may inspire essentialist beliefs about racial groups and racism. In three studies, we focus particularly on essentialist entitativity (EE, referring to beliefs about the uniformity, informativeness, and inherent core of racial groups), probing into its relationships with epistemic Need for Closure (NFC) and prejudice. In Study 1, we develop an EE scale, empirically distinguish it from the naturalness component of essentialism and non-essentialist entitativity beliefs, and establish its predictive utility for explaining racial prejudice. Study 2 provides experimental evidence for the causal effect of NFC on EE beliefs. Study 3 demonstrates in three different samples that EE beliefs mediate the relationship between dispositional NFC and racial prejudice. It is argued that EE beliefs about racial groups are an expression of motivated social cognition, serving people{\textquoteright}s seizing needs for quick and easy social judgment.},
  author       = {Roets, Arne and Van Hiel, Alain},
  issn         = {0144-6665},
  journal      = {BRITISH JOURNAL OF SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY},
  keyword      = {PERCEIVED GROUP VARIABILITY,CONSERVATIVE BELIEFS,MOTIVATED SOCIAL COGNITION,PSYCHOLOGICAL ESSENTIALISM,DOMINANCE ORIENTATION,DIMENSIONAL STRUCTURE,AUTHORITARIANISM,SCALE,CONSEQUENCES,ANTECEDENTS},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {1},
  pages        = {52--73},
  title        = {The role of need for closure in essentialist entitativity beliefs and prejudice: an epistemic needs approach to racial categorization},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1348/014466610X491567},
  volume       = {50},
  year         = {2011},
}

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