Structure and content of Native American stereotypic subgroups: Not just (ig)noble

Cultur Divers Ethnic Minor Psychol. 2017 Apr;23(2):209-219. doi: 10.1037/cdp0000100. Epub 2016 Jul 18.


Objectives: Prejudice against Native Americans as an overall group generally polarizes into positive and negative stereotypic extremes, but distinct subgroups may explain this variability.

Method: Using college student samples (Study 1), a preliminary study identified common Native American subgroups and then a main study (N = 153, 74% women, 73% White, mean age = 19 years) had participants rate these subgroups on basic dimensions of stereotype content (i.e., warmth and competence), elicited emotions (e.g., admiration, contempt), and elicited behaviors (e.g., facilitation, harm). In Study 2, these preliminary study and main study procedures were replicated using nationwide samples (main study: N = 139, 51% women, 78% White, mean age = 35 years).

Results: For the most part, similar Native American subgroups emerged in both samples. Using the stereotype content model (SCM; Fiske, Cuddy, Glick, & Xu, 2002), the subgroups were found to vary along a competence-by-warmth space. The majority of subgroups (e.g., alcoholics, lazy) were judged low in both competence and warmth. Additional subgroups (e.g., casino operators, warriors) were ambivalently judged as high on competence but low on warmth. Subgroups perceived as high in both competence and warmth elicited more admiration, those low in both competence and warmth elicited more contempt, those high in competence elicited more passive facilitation and less passive harm, and those high in warmth elicited more active facilitation and less active harm.

Conclusions: Native American stereotypes are apparently characterized by both noble and ignoble subgroups, highlighting the importance of studying stereotypes at the subgroup level. (PsycINFO Database Record

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Emotions
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Indians, North American / psychology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Self Concept
  • Social Perception
  • Stereotyping*
  • Students / psychology*
  • Young Adult