Standing up for a change: reducing bias through interpersonal confrontation

J Pers Soc Psychol. 2006 May;90(5):784-803. doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.90.5.784.


Three experiments examined the effectiveness of interpersonal confrontations as a means for decreasing stereotypic responding. After making stereotypic inferences about Black individuals, participants were confronted and reactions were measured across various intrapersonal and interpersonal response domains. Confrontations varied in level of hostility (Experiment 1) and whether they were expressed by a Black or White person (Experiment 2). Results indicate that although confrontations (and particularly hostile ones) elicited negative emotions and evaluations toward the confronter, participants also experienced negative self-directed affect. Furthermore, regardless of who did the confronting or how much hostility was expressed, confronted participants subsequently were less likely to provide stereotypic responses (Experiments 1-2), and the effect of the confrontation generalized to reporting less prejudiced attitudes (Experiment 3).

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Affect*
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Black or African American*
  • Dissent and Disputes*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prejudice*
  • Race Relations / psychology
  • Regression Analysis
  • Self Concept
  • Stereotyping*
  • United States
  • White People / psychology*