Psychological essentialism and system justification in the face of social change
© 2015 Fundacion para el Avance de la Psicologia.Recent empirical evidence suggests that essentialist beliefs about social groups are often associated with prejudice and discrimination against them. This relation is moderated by social status and beliefs about system stability. This study aimed at: first, evaluating the factorial structure of beliefs about sexual orientation. Second, evaluating the effect of beliefs in system stability and the use of essentialist arguments within a normative social category (heterosexuals) and a non-normative one (homosexuals) in a community sample in Colombia. To test this relationship we created a multifactorial design of 3 (belief in system stability: imminent change, stability and control) x 2 (sexual orientation), introducing essentialist beliefs about sexual orientation as a dependent variable. Findings suggest that beliefs about sexual orientation load on two essentialist dimensions: immutability and fundamentality. Also, findings suggest that beliefs in the immutability of sexual orientation are unrelated, whereas the beliefs about the fundamentality of sexual orientation significantly relate to prejudice and discrimination among heterosexual but not among homosexual people. The implications of these findings are discussed.
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