Stereotype content model across cultures: towards universal similarities and some differences

Br J Soc Psychol. 2009 Mar;48(Pt 1):1-33. doi: 10.1348/014466608X314935.


The stereotype content model (SCM) proposes potentially universal principles of societal stereotypes and their relation to social structure. Here, the SCM reveals theoretically grounded, cross-cultural, cross-groups similarities and one difference across 10 non-US nations. Seven European (individualist) and three East Asian (collectivist) nations (N=1,028) support three hypothesized cross-cultural similarities: (a) perceived warmth and competence reliably differentiate societal group stereotypes; (b) many out-groups receive ambivalent stereotypes (high on one dimension; low on the other); and (c) high status groups stereotypically are competent, whereas competitive groups stereotypically lack warmth. Data uncover one consequential cross-cultural difference: (d) the more collectivist cultures do not locate reference groups (in-groups and societal prototype groups) in the most positive cluster (high-competence/high-warmth), unlike individualist cultures. This demonstrates out-group derogation without obvious reference-group favouritism. The SCM can serve as a pancultural tool for predicting group stereotypes from structural relations with other groups in society, and comparing across societies.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Cross-Cultural Comparison*
  • Cultural Diversity
  • Culture
  • Emigrants and Immigrants / psychology
  • Europe
  • Far East
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prejudice*
  • Social Identification
  • Social Perception
  • Stereotyping*
  • Young Adult