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Distrust dissolves prejudice

What does it take to overcome prejudice? Maybe, oddly, a little distrust. Psychologists in Germany found that stereotypes based on gender, ethnicity, and weight were reduced after people were put in a distrustful frame of mind, even via subliminal messages. Given that a distrustful frame of mind caused people to judge pairs of nonhuman objects as less similar, and that the distrust prompt had no effect when people were also put in a similarity-focused frame of mind, the psychologists theorize that distrust causes people to focus on dissimilarity—including how others may be dissimilar from their stereotypes.

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