How are Asian Americans Seen and Evaluated? Examining Ethnic Stereotypes and their Cultural Complexity

Yueh-Ting Lee, Victor C. Ottati, Canchu Lin, Sydney Xinni Chan


Human stereotypes are more complicated and subtle than scholars or lay people often think. Based on the EPA (i.e., evaluation, potency and accuracy) theory of stereotypes (Lee, 2011; Lee, B., W. & Luo, 2007; Lee, J., & McCauley, 2013; Lee, McCauley & Jussim, 2013; Lee, V. S., & Ma, 2007), it was hypothesized and found that stereotypes of Asian Americans are derived on the basis of both evaluative considerations (prejudice) and a realistic assessment of group characteristics. This produces a pattern of stereotypic judgments that contains both agreement and disagreement when comparing stereotypes of Asian Americans among different perceiver groups (European Americans, non-Asian Minority-Americans). The results of the present study also highlight complexities that arise when one considers the effect of inter-group contact on stereotyping. Specifically, an increase in the frequency of inter-group contact was associated with a reduction in negative stereotyping, whereas an increase in the quality or closeness of inter-group contact was associated with an increase in negative stereotyping. It is concluded that inter-group stereotyping reflects a complex mixture of psychological processes that are in need of further investigation.


Cognition and communication; Stereotypic complexity; Attitudes toward minorities; Stereotype accuracy; Intergroup communication and contact

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