Direction of Comparison in Typicality Judgments
Sara D. Hodges & Tom Hollenstein
University of Oregon

Two studies demonstrated that direction of comparison effects, a hallmark of feature matching models of comparison in preference and similarity judgments, were also found in typicality comparisons. College students compared the typicality of two group members (movie stars in Study 1, N = 82; fraternity members in Study 2, N = 153) who had been rated equally typical in isolation. When group members shared typical features but had unique atypical features, participants rated the target of comparison (second group member) as more atypical than the referent (first group member). When group members shared typical features, but had unique typical features, the pattern was reversed. Participants who were themselves members of the group provided similar ratings (Study 2). Consistent with past findings, typicality judgments could be explained by focusing on unique features of the target of comparison. Results are discussed in terms of judgments of members of stereotyped groups.