Communication and essentialism: Grounding the shared reality of a social category

Kashima, Yoshihisa, Kashima, Emiko S., Bain, Paul, Lyons, Anthony, Tindale, R. Scott, Robins, Garry, Vears, Cedric, & Whelan, Jennifer (2010) Communication and essentialism: Grounding the shared reality of a social category. Social Cognition, 28(3), pp. 306-328.

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Essentialism is an ontological belief that there exists an underlying essence to a category. This article advances and tests in three studies the hypothesis that communication about a social category, and expected or actual mutual validation, promotes essentialism about a social category. In Study 1, people who wrote communications about a social category to their ingroup audiences essentialized it more strongly than those who simply memorized about it. In Study 2, communicators whose messages about a novel social category were more elaborately discussed with a confederate showed a stronger tendency to essentialize it. In Study 3, communicators who elaborately talked about a social category with a naive conversant also essentialized the social category. A meta-analysis of the results supported the hypothesis that communication promotes essentialism. Although essentialism has been discussed primarily in perceptual and cognitive domains, the role of social processes as its antecedent deserves greater attention.

Impact and interest:

14 citations in Scopus
10 citations in Web of Science®
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ID Code: 82867
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional Information: Special Issue: Shared Reality
Keywords: essentialism (philosophy), ontology, communication, social processes, meta-analysis
DOI: 10.1521/soco.2010.28.3.306
ISSN: 0278-016X
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES (170000) > PSYCHOLOGY (170100) > Social and Community Psychology (170113)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Deposited On: 01 Apr 2015 22:37
Last Modified: 24 Jun 2017 11:01

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