The stereotype content model was first proposed by social psychologist Susan Fiske together with colleagues Jun Xu, Peter Glick, and Amy Cuddy in 2002. The stereotype content model (SCM) describes the way an individual stereotypes members of a group they do not identify with.
|Concept Overview||– The Stereotype Content Model (SCM) is a psychological theory developed by Susan Fiske and her colleagues that seeks to understand and explain how people perceive and categorize individuals and groups based on two fundamental dimensions: warmth and competence. The model posits that these dimensions are central to the formation of stereotypes and judgments about others. Warmth refers to the intentions of a person or group, while competence pertains to their ability to enact those intentions. The SCM is a powerful tool for analyzing social perceptions and prejudices.|
|Key Dimensions||– The SCM is based on two primary dimensions: 1. Warmth (W): This dimension assesses whether a person or group is perceived as friendly, well-intentioned, and cooperative, or as hostile, unfriendly, and competitive. 2. Competence (C): Competence evaluates whether an individual or group is seen as capable, skilled, and effective or as incapable, unskilled, and ineffective. These two dimensions create a matrix that defines four social perception categories: – High Warmth, High Competence: Groups or individuals in this category are often admired and respected. – High Warmth, Low Competence: These groups are often seen as well-intentioned but not very capable. – Low Warmth, High Competence: This category includes groups or individuals viewed as competent but not particularly friendly or trustworthy. – Low Warmth, Low Competence: Groups or individuals in this category are often subject to contempt and prejudice.|
|Applications||– The Stereotype Content Model is applied in various fields: 1. Social Psychology: It is used to study the formation and dynamics of stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination. 2. Diversity and Inclusion: Organizations apply the model to understand biases and promote diversity and inclusion. 3. Conflict Resolution: The SCM helps analyze and mitigate intergroup conflicts. 4. Cross-Cultural Studies: It provides insights into how stereotypes vary across cultures. 5. Political Psychology: It is used to study perceptions of political leaders and groups.|
|Impact on Society||– The SCM is globally significant as it sheds light on the factors that influence social perceptions and attitudes toward different groups. By understanding how stereotypes are formed and reinforced, society can work towards reducing prejudice, discrimination, and social inequalities. The model’s insights are relevant to addressing issues related to diversity, inclusion, and social harmony in a global context.|
|Challenges||– The Stereotype Content Model faces challenges related to the complexity of human perception and biases. People’s judgments can be influenced by a range of factors, including cultural context, personal experiences, and media portrayal. While the SCM provides a valuable framework, it does not capture all nuances of social perception and can oversimplify complex interpersonal dynamics. Researchers and practitioners need to consider these challenges when applying the model.|
Understanding the stereotype content model
The model is based on an evolutionary predisposition for people to stereotype strangers in a new group in two different ways:
- The individual first assesses the perceived intent of the group to either help them or harm them. This is measured by the metric warmth.
- Then, the individual judges the capacity of the group to act on either intention. This is measured by the metric competence.
Depending on how warmth and competence are categorized, the individual will feel a particular way about a group and act accordingly.
These actions are the basis of stereotyping, with subsequent research into the model finding it to be a reliable predictor of stereotypical content and its associated behavior.
Studies on warmth and competence in social psychology have also been utilized in fields such as advertising, international relations, persuasion, policy formation, and corporate management.
The four quadrants of the stereotype content model
To further develop their model, Cuddy, Fiske, and Glick developed a table to show the different interactions between warmth and competence.
The table displays four quadrants, with each based on a causal model of stereotype development.
Primarily, the table was created to show that some stereotypes were positive or contained mixed attributes.
For example, some people stereotype the elderly as warm but not competent, while others may consider Asian people to be competent but not warm.
The table has two spectrums:
Active behaviors are intentionally directed at the group, while passive behaviors affect the group but do not require noticeable effort.
The second spectrum is included to differentiate between the out-group an individual (or in-group) is in a position to either assist or harm.
In addition, each stereotype group quadrant is assigned two behavioral tendencies.
This means common cultural stereotypes determine whether a social group will be on the receiving end of cooperative or harmful behavior, with both received either actively or passively.
Let’s now take a look at each of the four quadrants:
High warmth/high competence
These groups are admired with active facilitation and constitute in-groups, or groups to which the observer personally belongs.
Middle class, white, and heterosexual groups fall under this quadrant.
High warmth/low competence
These groups are pitied with passive facilitation. In many Western societies, this treatment is usually directed toward the elderly and disabled.
While these groups are pitied from a moral standpoint, they are nonetheless isolated from society.
For example, elderly people receive passive harm when they are isolated in a care facility.
But they may also receive active facilitation through community service or elderly charities.
Low warmth/high competence
These groups are envied with passive harm because they are generally perceived to lack warmth and possess high competency.
In the United States, out-groups include Asian Americans, wealthy Americans, and the Jewish community.
Low warmth/low competence
These groups are treated with contempt through active harm, such as the homeless or unemployed.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, they are treated with the most hostility of any group.
- The stereotype content model describes the way an individual stereotypes members of a group they do not identify with. It was developed by social psychologist Susan Fiske and colleagues Jun Xu, Peter Glick, and Amy Cuddy in 2002.
- The stereotype content model measures two dimensions that describe the way an individual will feel (and subsequently act) when encountering a stranger or group. The first dimension is warmth, or the extent to which the individual believes a group can harm them or help them. The second is competence, or the extent to which the group can carry out either intention.
- The two dimensions of the stereotype content model were later displayed in a table with four quadrants. Each quadrant describes a different stereotype out-group, with each categorized according to whether they will be on the receiving end of harmful or cooperative behavior.
- Origin and Purpose: The Stereotype Content Model (SCM) was introduced by social psychologist Susan Fiske and her colleagues in 2002. It aims to explain how individuals stereotype members of groups they do not identify with.
- Two Dimensions of Stereotyping: The SCM proposes that people stereotype strangers based on two main dimensions: warmth and competence.
- Warmth: This dimension reflects the perceived intent of a group to either harm or help the observer. It measures whether the group is seen as friendly, trustworthy, and cooperative, or as cold, unfriendly, and competitive.
- Competence: This dimension assesses the perceived capability of the group to carry out their intentions, whether they have the necessary skills and resources. It ranges from high competence (capable) to low competence (incompetent).
- Four Quadrants of Stereotype Content Model:
- High Warmth/High Competence: Groups in this quadrant are admired and receive active facilitation. They are often in-groups to which the observer belongs. Examples include middle-class individuals, white people, and heterosexuals.
- High Warmth/Low Competence: These groups are pitied and receive passive facilitation. Examples are the elderly and disabled. While pitied, they might also experience isolation and passive harm.
- Low Warmth/High Competence: These groups are envied but receive passive harm. They are seen as competent but lacking warmth. Examples include Asian Americans and wealthy individuals.
- Low Warmth/Low Competence: Groups in this quadrant are treated with contempt and receive active harm. Homeless and unemployed individuals are often subjected to hostility.
- Behavioral Tendencies: Each quadrant is associated with specific behavioral tendencies. The SCM suggests that common cultural stereotypes determine whether a social group will experience cooperative or harmful behavior, either actively or passively.
- Applications: The SCM’s concepts of warmth and competence have been applied beyond social psychology to fields such as advertising, international relations, persuasion, policy formation, and corporate management. Understanding how people perceive different groups’ intentions and capabilities can help shape strategies in these areas.
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