When does perspective-taking increase prejudice reduction and decrease meta-stereotypes?
The effect of perspective-taking on intergroup relations is not as clear cut as many scientists once thought. Vorauer & Sasaki (2009) found that group context moderated the relationship between perspective-taking and prejudice reduction. In intergroup interactions (but not intragroup interactions), perspective-taking with the outgroup led to negative meta-stereotype activation which, in turn, impeded prejudice reduction. The current study attempted to replicate Vorauer & Sasaki (2009) using a larger sample and assessing the effects in a different intergroup context (i.e., American sample). White participants (N = 289) were randomly assigned to either take the perspective or remain objective while watching a video about a Black woman in America. The participants were then told they would be discussing the video with another White student or a Black student. Participants that were told to take the perspective of the woman in the video did report higher levels of empathy towards the woman (p < .001) than participants told to remain objective. Unfortunately, participants did not report any changes in prejudice attitudes or metastereotype activation/endorsement across the four conditions (p’s > .094). These results suggest that perspective-taking interventions aimed at reducing prejudice should be approached with caution. Specifically, taking the perspective of an outgroup member may not always lead to a reduction in prejudice attitudes. Implications and future directions around perspective-taking interventions are discussed.