Forecasting the Primary Dimension of Social Perception: Symbolic and Realistic Threats Together Predict Warmth in the Stereotype Content Model

January 2015
with Nicolas Kervyn and Vincent Yzerbyt; Social Psychology 46(1)

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The Stereotype Content Model (SCM) posits two fundamental dimensions of intergroup perception, warmth and competence, predicted by socio-structural dimensions of competition and status, respectively. However, the SCM has been challenged on claiming perceived competition as the socio-structural dimension that predicts perceived warmth. The current research improves by broadening warmth’s predictor (competition) to include both realistic and symbolic threat from Integrated Threat Theory (Study 1). We also measure two components of the warmth dimension: sociability and morality. Study 2 tests new items to measure both threat and warmth. The new threat items significantly improve prediction of warmth, compared with standard SCM items. Morality and sociability correlate highly and do not differ much in their predictability by competition/threat.