Saturday, April 9, 2011

Disorder promotes stereotyping

It'll be interesting to see how this all plays out. Shame on you Stapel!

Xenophobic exclusion has been ubiquitous throughout history. However, the explanation of such a phenomenon has been little understood. Interesting research conducted by Stapel and Lindenberg published in the latest Science has brought us closer to some answers. They found that people who are in a disordered environment (e.g. unclean subway station) exhibit greater discriminatory behavior (e.g. decision to sit further away from a black person compared to a white person). The authors suggest that when the brain faces disorder there is a natural drive for order. One way to reach order is through stereotyping. It's the brain's way of making sense of the world. Too bad it doesn't work all the time.


Editorial Expression of Concern

The report “Coping with chaos: How disordered contexts promote stereotyping and discrimination” by D. A.Stapel and S. Lindenberg (1) reported the effects of the physical environment on human stereotyping and discriminatory behavior. On 31 October 2011, Tilburg University held a press conference to announce interim findings of its investigation into possible data fraud in the body of work published by Stapel. The official report in Dutch (translated into English using Google software) indicates that the extent of the fraud by Stapel is substantial. Pending further details of the Tilburg Committee's findings, Science is publishing this Editorial Expression of Concern to alert our readers that serious concerns have been raised about the validity of the findings in this Report.
  1. Bruce Alberts, Editor-in-Chief


Stapel DA, & Lindenberg S (2011). Coping with chaos: how disordered contexts promote stereotyping and discrimination. Science (New York, N.Y.), 332 (6026), 251-3 PMID: 21474762

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