Article | Personality & Social Psychology Bulletin | January 2008

When Being a Model Minority Is Good...and Bad: Realistic Threat Explains Negativity Toward Asian Americans.

by W.W. Maddux, A. Galinsky, A.J.C. Cuddy and M. Polifroni

Abstract

The current research explores the hypothesis that realistic threat is one psychological mechanism that can explain how individuals can hold positive stereotypical beliefs toward Asian Americans yet also express negative attitudes and emotions toward them. Study 1 demonstrates that in a realistic threat context, attitudes and emotions toward an anonymous group described by only positive, "model minority" attributes are significantly more negative than when the group was described using other positive attributes. Study 2 demonstrates that realistic threat significantly mediates the relationship between (a) the endorsement of the both the positive and negative stereotypes of Asian Americans and (b) subsequent negative attitudes and emotions toward them. Studies 3 and 4 conceptually replicate this effect in experimental situations involving interactions with Asian Americans in realistic threat contexts. Implications for understanding the nature of stereotyping and prejudice toward Asian Americans and other minority groups are discussed.

Keywords: Business Model; Prejudice and Bias; Ethnicity Characteristics; Groups and Teams; Attitudes; Emotions;

Citation:

Maddux, W.W., A. Galinsky, A.J.C. Cuddy, and M. Polifroni. "When Being a Model Minority Is Good...and Bad: Realistic Threat Explains Negativity Toward Asian Americans." Personality & Social Psychology Bulletin 34 (January 2008): 74–89.