Perceiving others as responsive lessens prejudice: The mediating roles of intellectual humility and attitude ambivalence

Guy Itzchakov, Harry T. Reis, Kimberly Rios

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Can perceived responsiveness, the extent to which an individual feels understood, validated, and cared for by close others, reduce prejudiced attitudes? We hypothesized that perceived responsiveness by meaningful other people would increase recipients' intellectual humility and attitude ambivalence and that these changes would reduce prejudice. Five studies (total N = 3362), four of which were preregistered, manipulated perceived responsiveness by a specific person (Studies 1–3, 5) or measured the effects of perceived responsiveness by the closest social network of the recipient (Study 4). All studies supported the hypotheses. Specifically, Studies 1 and 2 found that perceived responsiveness increased intellectual humility and attitude ambivalence and reduced prejudice toward a group from a pre-determined list. Study 3 replicated these findings when participants freely chose the social group. In Study 4, perceived responsiveness from individuals' closest social networks predicted the dependent variables a few days afterward, controlling for positive and negative affect and social desirability. Finally, in Study 5, we added a condition of positive social interaction to rule out the possibility that the prior findings were due to recalling an affectively positive experience. The effect of perceived responsiveness on prejudice reduction (i.e., increased attitude favorability toward the social group) was not moderated by attitude certainty (Study 2), anxious or avoidant attachment style (Study 2), or attitude morality (Study 3). This work suggests that fostering perceived responsiveness can serve as a strategy for mitigating prejudice and promoting more open-minded attitudes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104554
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
StatePublished - Jan 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Elsevier Inc.


  • Attitude ambivalence
  • Intellectual humility
  • Open-mindedness
  • Prejudice
  • Responsiveness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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