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2019 International Association for Conflict Management Conference

IACM 2019 Abstract Book »

Astrological Stereotypes and Discrimination in China

A controversial debate in the social sciences is whether stereotypes are accurate and thus provide a “rational” basis for discrimination (i.e., statistical discrimination). Across 9 studies (N = 209,282), we further this debate by documenting a novel form of stereotyping and discrimination: one based on Western astrological signs. We revealed that astrological stereotypes are salient in China (but not in the United States), and likely originated from how astrological signs were translated into Chinese. In particular, Virgo is stereotyped to have a disagreeable personality. This stereotype led Chinese individuals to discriminate against Virgos in romantic dating and job recruitment. However, large-scale analyses found that astrological sign did not predict any personality dimensions, including agreeableness. Our research provides a clear demonstration that stereotypes can arise in the absence of real group differences and still produce discrimination. We urge policymakers to proscribe astrological discrimination—before astrological stereotypes unjustly become accurate over time.

Jackson Lu  |
MIT Sloan School of Management
United States

Xin Liu  |
Peking University, Guanghua School of Management

Hui Liao  |
University of Maryland, Robert H. Smith School of Business
United States

Adam Galinsky  |
Columbia Business School
United States

Lei Wang  |
Peking University


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