- The Scully Center for the Neuroscience of Mind and Behavior
Professor Fiske's research addresses how stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination are encouraged or discouraged by social relationships, such as cooperation, competition, and power. We begin with the premise that people easily categorize other people, especially based on race, gender, and age. Going beyond such categories, to learn about the individual person, requires motivation. Social relationships supply one form of motivation to individuate, and our work shows that being on the same team or depending on another person makes people go beyond stereotypes. Conversely, people in power are less motivated to go beyond their stereotypes. In laboratory studies, we examine how a variety of relationships affect people forming impressions of others. Society's cultural stereotypes and prejudice also depend on relationships of power and interdependence. Group status and competition affect how groups are (dis)liked and (dis)respected. In surveys, we examine the content of group stereotypes based on race, gender, age, (dis)ability, income, and more, finding patterns in the ways that society views various groups.