Construal level theory suggests that events and objects can be represented at either a higher, more abstract level involving consideration of superordinate goals, desirability, global processing, and broad categorizations or a lower, more concrete level involving consideration of subordinate goals, feasibility, local processing, and narrow categorizations. Analogously, social targets (including the self) can be represented more broadly, as members of a group, or more narrowly, as individuals. Because abstract construals induce a similarity focus, they were predicted to increase the perceived fit between social targets and a salient social category. Accordingly, placing individuals into a more abstract construal mind-set via an unrelated task increased the activation and use of stereotypes of salient social groups, stereotype-consistent trait ratings of the self, group identification, and stereotype-consistent performance relative to more concrete construal mind-sets. Thus, nonsocial contextual influences (construal level mind-sets) affect stereotyping of self and others.
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