Home > Stereotype > The role of need for closure in essentialist entitativity beliefs and prejudice: An epistemic needs approach to racial categorization

The role of need for closure in essentialist entitativity beliefs and prejudice: An epistemic needs approach to racial categorization

The role of need for closure in essentialist entitativity beliefs
and prejudice: An epistemic needs approach to racial categorization

Arne Roets, Alain Van Hiel

British Journal of Social Psychology
Volume 50, Issue 1, pages 52–73, March 2011

The present research investigates how people's general epistemic 
motives may inspire essentialist beliefs about racial groups and 
racism. In three studies, we focus particularly on essentialist 
entitativity (EE, referring to beliefs about the uniformity, 
informativeness, and inherent core of racial groups), probing 
into its relationships with epistemic need for closure (NFC) 
and prejudice. In Study 1, we develop an EE scale, empirically 
distinguish it from the naturalness component of essentialism 
and non-EE beliefs, and establish its predictive utility for 
explaining racial prejudice. Study 2 provides experimental 
evidence for the causal effect of NFC on EE beliefs. Study 3 
demonstrates in three different samples that EE beliefs mediate 
the relationship between dispositional NFC and racial prejudice. 
It is argued that EE beliefs about racial groups are an expression 
of motivated social cognition, serving people's seizing needs for 
quick and easy social judgment.
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Categories: Stereotype
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