African Americans’ and European Americans’ Mutual Attributions: Adjective Generation Technique (AGT) Stereotyping1


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    Sincere thanks to Bern Hart and Nancy Hobby for their assistance in collecting some of the data and to Belinda Carr for recruiting additional subjects.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Bem P. Allen, 110, Western Illinois University, Macomb, IL 61455. e-mail:


The Katz/Braly line of research is reviewed, along with efforts to improve stereotype measurement. Mutual stereotyping by African Americans and European Americans and in-group bias effects were examined employing the Adjective Generation Technique (AGT). Results showed that each group's conception of the other differed from its own-group conception. Both groups saw European Americans as tending to be inventive, educated, smart, rich, and greedy, but African Americans added corrupt and prejudiced, while European Americans added lazy. African Americans were seen by both groups as tending to be corrupt, funny, friendly, independent, and poor. While mostly African Americans saw their own group as smart and strong, mostly European Americans attributed athletic, humorous, and loud to African Americans. The in-group bias effect was confirmed for both groups in terms of FAVorability and ANXiety values assigned to generated words. However, African Americans showed a stronger bias effect on the FAV measure. The expectation that in-group members would have more constructs applicable to their own group than to the other group was supported only for African Americans. There was also evidence that the powerless know the powerful more than the other way around. Implications for the study of stereotype content, the in-group bias effect, intergroup anxiety, and strength of own group identity are discussed.