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Abstract

We examined whether increasing individuals' perceived variability of an out-group reduces prejudice and discrimination toward members of this group. In a series of four laboratory and field experiments, we attracted participants' attention to the heterogeneity of members of an out-group (or not), and then measured their attitudes or behaviors. Perceived variability was manipulated by portraying the out-group members as having diverse socio-demographic characteristics and different personality traits and preferences. Prejudice and discrimination were measured in terms of self-reported prejudice, stereotyping, in-group bias, social distance, and willingness to do something for the minority group under consideration. In all experiments, perceived variability decreased prejudice and discrimination.