Social Psychology Network

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Michael A. Zárate

Michael A. Zárate

  • SPN Mentor

Right now, my research revolves around three somewhat distinct topics.

(1) My main work is attempting to develop a "cultural pluralism" model of prejudice reduction. We are taking social identity concepts to test how a hypothesized need for uniqueness and fear of change can influence prejudice, particularly concerning immigrants. Across a number of studies we have found that when people focus on how their group is different from a salient outgroup, people end up expressing less prejudice compared to when they focus on how their group is similar to the outgroup. We are currently testing the limits to this effect. Because UTEP sits on the US/Mexican border, we are uniquely able to test how basic social psychological constructs influence ethnic prejudice and attitudes towards immigrants.

(2) In an entirely different realm, we (Jim Sanders and myself) have developed a neurological model of person perception. We are trying to identity the processes involved in perceiving persons as both persons and as members of social groups.

(3) Finally, I am in the beginning stages of testing how nicotine influences social perception processes. Preliminary data suggest that smoking cigarettes can increase the propensity to stereotype. Further work is testing that process.

Primary Interests:

  • Culture and Ethnicity
  • Intergroup Relations
  • Person Perception
  • Prejudice and Stereotyping
  • Self and Identity
  • Social Cognition

Research Group or Laboratory:

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Journal Articles:

  • Blot, K. J., Zárate, M. A., & Paulus, P. B. (2003). Code-Switching across Brainstorming Sessions: Implications for the Revised Hierarchical Model of Bilingual Language Processing. Experimental Psychology, 50, 171-183.
  • Carpenter, S., Zárate, M. A., & Garza, A. (2007). Cultural pluralism and prejudice reduction. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 13(2), 83-93.
  • Rivera, L. O., Arms-Chavez, C. J., & Zárate, M. A. (2009). Resource dependent effects during sex categorization. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 45(4), 908-912.
  • Smith, E. R., & Zárate, M. A. (1992). Exemplar-based model of social judgment. Psychological Review, 99, 3-21.
  • Smith, E. R., & Zárate, M. A. (1990). Exemplar and prototype use in social categorization. Social Cognition, 8, 243-262.
  • Zárate, M. A., Garcia, B., & Garza, A. A., & Hitlan, R. (2004). Cultural threat and perceived realistic group conflict as predictors of attitudes towards Mexican immigrants. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 40, 99-105.
  • Zárate, M. A., & Garza, A. A. (2002). In-group distinctiveness and self-affirmation as dual components of prejudice reduction. Self and Identity, 1, 235-249.
  • Zárate, M. A., & Sanders, J. D. (1999). Face categorization, graded priming, and the mediating influences of similarity. Social Cognition, 17, 1-23.
  • Zárate, M. A., Sanders, J. D., & Garza, A. A. (2000). Neurological disassociations of social perception processes. Social Cognition, 18, 223-251.
  • Zárate, M. A., & Sandoval, P. (1995). The effects of contextual cues on making occupational and gender categorizations. British Journal of Social Psychology, 34, 353-362.
  • Zárate, M. A., & Smith, E. R. (1990). Person categorization and stereotyping. Social Cognition, 8, 161-185.
  • Zárate, M. A., Stoever, C. J., MacLin, M. K., & Chavez, C. J. (2008). Neurocognitive underpinnings of face perception: Further evidence of distinct person and group perception processes. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 94, 108-115.
  • Zárate, M. A., Uleman, J. S., & Voils, C. I. (2001). Effects of culture and processing goals on the activation and binding of trait concepts. Social Cognition, 19, 295-323.

Other Publications:

  • Zárate, M. A., & Stoever, C. J. (2003). Decomposing the person perception process: Cerebral hemispheric asymmetries in social perception. In J. P. Forgas, K. D. Williams, & W. von Hippel. (Eds.), 5th Sydney Symposium of Social Psychology, Responding to the social world: Implicit and explicit processes in social judgments and decisions.

Courses Taught:

  • Social Cognition Research Applications
  • Social Psychology

Michael A. Zárate
Department of Psychology
University of Texas at El Paso
500 West University Avenue
El Paso, Texas 79968-0553
United States

  • Phone: (915) 747-6569
  • Fax: (915) 747-6553

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