It has been long established that interpersonal communication underpins the existence of cultural stereotypes. However, research has either examined the formation of new or the maintenance of existing stereotypes. In a series of three studies, the present research bridges the gap between these phases by showing that newly formed stereotypes can spread through repeated dyadic communication with others. The stereotypic representation arose due to the audience tuning in to communication to a first audience. Further transmission to two types of subsequent audiences was simulated: a newcomer and an old-timer with an unknown attitude towards the target. A “saying-is-repeating” effect was obtained: the stereotypic representation was invariably transmitted to the newcomer, regardless of whether communicators personally believed in the bias; perceived group-level consensus moderated its transmission to the old-timer. These findings demonstrate that once a stereotypic representation is formed, it is likely to spread in a community and potentially become a cultural stereotype.
Bratanova, B., & Kashima, Y. (2014). The “saying is repeating” effect: dyadic communication can generate cultural stereotypes. The Journal of Social Psychology, 154(2), 155–174. https://doi.org/10.1080/00224545.2013.874326