International Society of Political Psychology

Conference Abstracts

9D Image Theory: Theoretical Advances and Empirical Evidence

(Session Organizer) Emanuele Castano, New School for Social Research; (Chair) Emanuele Castano, New School for Social Research; (Discussant) Richard K Herrmann, The Ohio

Conference: ISPP 2011
Affiliation: New School for Social Research
Research Area: International relations, globalization, macropolitical issues

Beginning with the seminal work of Boulding, image theory has long provided an important framework to better understand international relations, and had blossomed into a sophisticated model that integrates insights from social psychological theory and research in Herrmann and Fisherkeller’s (1995) International Image Theory. The four presentations of this symposium discuss theoretical and empirical advancements, and test image theory in different contexts. The first presentation provides the first strong experimental evidence that images about a country can be created relatively easily, via subliminal prime, and that individuals fill-in the missing content. In the context of U.S. participants’ perception of Latin American countries, the findings of four studies that are presented also support the idea that images are consequential in terms of perception of ambivalent events. The second presentation focuses on the Turks’s images of the United States, and investigates the role of structural factors in the emergence of such images, and moderators, such as attachment to the nation. The third presentation investigates the classic friend versus foe distinction in the perception of other nations among both American and Chinese participants – with ideology playing an important role in determining this distinction. Finally, the fourth presentation extends image theory to the realm of inter-ethnic relations. Building on the results of three studies investigating the underpinnings of Black versus White racial attitudes, the authors argue that an intergroup-images approach is needed to understand the cognitive, affective and motivational processes underlying prejudice.