Past work has argued that comparison mindsets affect stereotyping: perceivers in a difference mindset stereotype less than those in a similarity mindset, contrasting their judgments of an individual away from their representation of the group. Here, we argue that the self can also act as a reference point, implying that the impact of comparison mindsets depends on what is focal. In two studies manipulating comparison mindsets and activated representations, we find support for our claims that a difference (compared to similarity) mindset leads to less stereotyping and greater social projection when group representations are focal but to more stereotyping and less projection when self representations are focal.
Ames, Daniel, Shira Mor, and Claudia Toma. "The double-edge of similarity and difference mindsets: What comparison mindsets do depends on whether self or group representations are focal." Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 49 (2013): 583-587.
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