Beliefs About the Disconfirmability of Stereotypes: The Stereotype Disconfirmability Effect1


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    The authors thank Mel Manis for his comments on an earlier version of this manuscript.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Oscar Ybarra, Department of Psychology and Research, Center for Group Dynamics, University of Michigan, 525 East University Ann Arbor, MI 48109–1109. E-mail:


Two studies examined people's beliefs about the relative disconfirmability of out-group and in-group stereotypes. In Study 1 (n= 56), Hispanics and White non-Hispanics judged the in-group and out-group stereotypes in terms of the ease with which they could be dis-confirmed. The results indicated that strongly, ethnically identified participants believed the out-group stereotype to be more difficult to disconfirm than the in-group stereotype. The second study with 73 White participants examined their beliefs about the disconfirmability of the White and African American stereotypes. The results indicated that participants higher in prejudice believed the African American stereotype is more difficult to disconfirm than the White stereotype to a greater degree than participants lower in prejudice. The results suggest that disconfirmability beliefs comprise a distinct construct thai may contribute to the difficulty of changing out-group stereotypes.