The maintenance of cultural stereotypes in the conversational retelling of narratives


Correspondence: Yoshihisa Kashima, Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, Vic. 3010, Australia. Email:


Interpersonal communication plays a significant role in the maintenance of culturally shared stereotypes. This paper reports on two experiments in which two different stories were transmitted conversationally through communication chains. In both experiments, people tended to emphasize more stereotype consistent than stereotype inconsistent (SI) information, thus rendering the stories more confirming, rather than challenging, of the stereotypes. Although SI information sometimes attracted more attention in conversation, this did not translate into a greater likelihood of passing on SI information, thus keeping the story character's impression largely stereotypical even after a second retelling of the story.