|Other Abstract||Stereotypes are people’s beliefs about the characteristics, attributes, or behaviors of members of certain groups, which affect people’s attitudes and behaviors toward the outgroups. The individual’s stereotypes of social groups and government are important parts of social perception. Theefficient and orderly operation of Chinese society is inseparable from people’s positive perception of social groups and government. Modern China is in a period of rapid change. Steretypes, as the product of history and culture, must have changed a lot as well. Based on China’s cultural background, this research puts forward the concept of government stereotypes on the basis of the concept of social group stereotypes,and explores the content, change, and the mechanisms of change of social group stereotypes and government stereotypes, through five studies in two series.
Study 1 is in the social context. Cross-sectional data and retrospective data were used to examine the content, trend, and mechanisms of generational change of social group stereotypes. In study 1a, we measured the stereotypes, emotions, and behavioral tendencies against 22 typical Chinese social groups with participants over 35 years old, and we confirmed the basic assumptions of the Stereotype Content Model (SCM). Then we compared them with data from participants under 35 years old in a previous study, finding a negative trend of generational social group stereotypes change. Instudy 1b, we required participants who were born in 1950-1999 to report their stereotypes and information about some classic and novel occupational groups, as well as their general social trust. The results showed that evaluators’ social trust and information had significant indirect effects on the generational differences, which indicated the effect of evalutors’ cognition and motivation factors. In study 1c, we adopted retrospective method, and asked participants born in the 1950s to 1990s to recall or speculate about stereotypes and information about four typical occupational groups in the five decades from 1970 to 2019, as well as social trust in each decade. The results showed that people born in the 1950s and 1960s believed that there was no time change in stereotypes, while people born in the 1980s and 1990s believed that stereotypes became more negative. The results also showed that the decreasing trend on stereotype favorability of young people was caused by the evaluators’ motivation,i.e. social trust. This confirmed the effect of evaluators in the generational stereotype change again.
Study 2 is in the government context. We examined the content, trend, and its mechanisms of time change of government stereotypes by analyzing people’s stereotype t owards the government in two time points. Data were from the database named 2014 large scale national survey on people’s social attitude and the large scale national survey on people’s social attitude conducted by us in 2018, including 3,593 and 3,416 pa rticipants from the same 85 counties in 5 provinces, respectively. In study 2a, by coding and analyzing the free response data, we obtained the content of government stereotypes in 2014 and 2018, and by comparing data from 2014 and 2018, we found that peop le’s government stereotypes became more positive in 2018 than in 2014. In study 2b, we set government performance , government information , and the trust towards the government as the indicators of targets factor ,the cognition factor of evaluators, and the motivation factor of the evaluators. Through the mediation analysis of 85 county level data, the results showed that the increase of government performance predicted the improvement of local government trust, and then affected the improvement of government stereotypes, which indicated the mechanism by which the targets’ factor acts on stereotype change through the influence of evaluators’ motivation factor.
This research examines the content and change of the stereotypes of social groups and government, which records the great social changes in modern China with a view of stereotypes And it examines the effect of evaluators and targets on stereotype change, which answers the possible mechanisms of stereotype change and has both theoretical and practical implications on stereotype change research|