Stereotype Content as a Collective Memory of Place and Its Past Intergroup Relations


  • Mikołaj Winiewski
  • Dominika Bulska


The stereotyped content of outgroups denotes intergroup relations. Based on this notion, Susan Fiske and colleagues (2002, created the stereotype content model (SCM), which links two dimensions, warmth and competence, with social structure. The structure of intergroup relations is not stable in time, nor is it shaped instantly. Based on the assumptions of SCM we predict that the history of intergroup relations is in part responsible for stereotypes. In order to test the hypothesis we reanalysed five Polish nationwide, representative surveys (total N = 4834). The studies followed a similar procedure for data collection, and each study asked an open-ended question about the traits of two ethnic groups (Jews and Germans). Answers were listed and coded using competent judges. The averages of the judges’ codes were used as indicators of stereotype content and an analysis of regional differences was conducted. Several significant results were obtained and are interpreted in line with warm – competition and competence – status relations. The results show that several historical situations and events, such as pre-WWII social structure or post-war migrations and territorial changes, can be linked to contemporary stereotypes.