Transference occurs across group boundaries

Michael W. Kraus, S. Chen, Victoria A. Lee, Laura D. Straus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Transference occurs when a perceiver's representation of a significant other is activated and applied to a new target person (Andersen & Chen, 2002). Extending past research, it was hypothesized that transference occurs even when a target person possesses a core feature-namely, group membership status-that is inapplicable to the relevant significant-other representation. Supporting this, transference led perceivers to make representation-consistent memory and evaluation judgments about a target-regardless of whether the target's political (experiment 1) or ethnic (experiment 2) group membership was the same or different from that of the relevant significant other. Moreover, in experiment 2, perceivers undergoing transference involving a positively evaluated significant other behaved more positively toward the target even when the target was from an ethnic out-group. The results represent initial evidence of transference processes occurring across group boundaries. Implications for transference and the reduction of out-group bias are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1067-1073
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2010


  • Close relationships
  • Intergroup processes
  • Out-group bias
  • Significant others
  • Social cognition
  • Transference

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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