2019-09-16 | Open mind for a different view – Kevin Winter presents doctoral thesis on prejudices
We are all prejudiced. But how can stereotypes and prejudices be deconstructed? Kevin Winter answered this question at his doctoral defence on 13th of September. In his thesis, the IWM researcher shows through various empirical studies innovative and effective ways, how people can face outgroups unbiasedly. Communication and cognitive flexibility, according to Winter, are part of the solution. Especially through the use of negations in communication attitudes about an outgroup can be changed. For example, if we say “foreigners are not criminals”, the negation leads us to consider an alternative perspective and to a more flexible way of thinking. The original attitude towards the outgroup is then questioned and perhaps revised. Kevin Winter's findings are particularly relevant with regard to media communication: Negations in news, speeches or press releases can contribute to the reduction of prejudices and stereotypes.