People Perception and Stereotype-Based Responding: Task Context Matters

Linn Maria Persson* (Corresponding Author), Johanna Katariina Falben, Dimitra Tsamadi, Colin Macrae

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
33 Downloads (Pure)


Whether groups impact social perception is a topic of renewed theoretical and empirical interest. In particular, it remains unclear when and how the composition of a group influences a core component of social cognition — stereotype-based responding. Accordingly, exploring this issue, here we investigated the extent to which different task requirements moderate the stereotype-related products of people perception. Following the presentation of same-sex groups that varied in facial typicality (i.e., high or low femininity/masculinity), participants had to report either the gender related status of target words (i.e., a group-irrelevant gender-classification task) or whether the items were stereotypic or counter-stereotypic with respect to the preceding groups (i.e., a group relevant stereotype-status task). Critically, facial typicality only impacted performance in the stereotype-status task. A further computational analysis (i.e., Diffusion Model) traced this effect to the combined operation of stimulus processing and response biases during decision-making.
Specifically, evidence accumulation was faster when targets followed groups that were high (vs. low) in typicality and these arrays also triggered a stronger bias toward stereotypic (vs. counter stereotypic) responses. Collectively, these findings elucidate when and how group variability influences people perception.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1219-1231
Number of pages13
JournalPsychological Research
Issue number4
Early online date22 Aug 2022
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023

Bibliographical note

Open Access via the Springer Compact Agreement

Data Availability Statement

Data availability
Available on request from the first author.

Code availability
Available on request from first author.


  • people perception
  • stereotyping
  • typicality
  • diffusion model


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