Background. The current Coronavirus pandemic has been linked to a dramatic increase in anti-Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) hate incidents in the United States. At the time of writing, there does not appear to be any published empirical research examining the mechanisms underlying Asiaphobia during the current pandemic. Based on the stereotype content model, we investigated the idea that ambivalent attitudes toward AAPIs, marked primarily with envy, may be contributing to anti-AAPI xenophobia. Methods. Study 1 (N = 140) explored, through a survey, the link between envious stereotypes toward AAPIs and Asiaphobia. Study 2 (N = 167), utilizing autobiographical recall tasks, experimentally induced the affect of envy in order to establish causality between feelings of envy toward AAPIs and Asiaphobia. Results. In Study 1, envious stereotypes toward AAPIs were found to be predictive of Asiaphobia and, in Study 2, the inducement of envy led to heightened levels of Asiaphobia. Conclusions. The current research provides support for the proposition that, consistent with the stereotype content model, stereotypes and attitudes toward AAPIs marked with ambivalent and envious views, consisting of a mix of perceived competence and lack of “human warmth,” may be fueling Asiaphobia. Implications for potential applications and future research are discussed.
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