Cultural Correlates of Social Essentialism

Yian Xu & Marjorie Rhodes
People intuitively view social groups as having biological underpinnings and discrete boundaries (Prentice & Miller, 2007; Roberts et al., 2017). Such essentialist beliefs are considered to revolve around the idea that some deep, immutable “essence” ultimately determines social group membership, and gives rise to uniform group features (Medin & Ortony, 1989). Essentialist views of social groups are early emerging and culturally prevalent, reflecting a possibly domain-general conceptual framework that people endorse to make sense of...
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