When race and gender go without saying

Felicia Pratto, Josephine D. Korchmaros, Peter Hegarty

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


We hypothesize that people fail to designate typical race and gender features because of communication pragmatics and because people assume that their category norms-their implicit sense of which features are typical or atypical of a category-are shared. In Experiment 1, participants wrote what made celebrities typical or not typical of their occupations. Participants almost never designated typical race and gender when instructed to describe how celebrities were typical, although they often designated atypical features when instructed to say how celebrities were not typical. Experiment 2 showed that verbal designation of race and gender occurs most when features are either atypical or are unshared with one's communication partner, and that designating atypical features under suchcircumstances facilitates communication. Experiment 3 showed that the common ground goal determines the higher rate of designating atypical than typical race and gender features. Implications for the communication of bias are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)221-247
Number of pages27
JournalSocial Cognition
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2007
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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