Stereotype Content: Warmth and Competence Endure

Curr Dir Psychol Sci. 2018 Apr;27(2):67-73. doi: 10.1177/0963721417738825. Epub 2018 Feb 28.


Two dimensions persist in social cognition, whether people are making sense of individuals or groups. The Stereotype Content Model terms the basic dimensions perceived warmth (trustworthiness, friendliness) and competence (capability, assertiveness). Measured reliably and validly, these Big Two dimensions converge across methods: survey, cultural, laboratory, and biobehavioral approaches. Generality across place, levels, and time further support the framework. Parallel pairs have emerged repeatedly over the history of psychology and in current theories. The SCM proposes and tests a comprehensive causal theory: perceived social structure (cooperation, status) → stereotypes (warmth, competence) → emotional prejudices (pride, pity, contempt, envy) → discrimination (active and passive help and harm). The SCM uncovers systematic content and dynamics of stereotypes, with practical implications.