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Lecture 8

Lecture 8 - January 23rd.docx

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Jennifer Ostovich

January 23 – Lecture 8 How useful are stereotypes?  If we’re going to use them, there should be some reason to use them  E.g. accuracy  If they’re not useful, we probably shouldn’t use them  Stereotypes should help us through a cognitively complex world  Should boost our cognitive efficiency  If not, what’s the point of them?  Bodies of research about whether or not they are useful enough to be maintained  The presumption is that they are  Why would we maintain something that points us in the wrong direction? (unless it’s harder to get rid of than to keep)  Accuracy refers to whether they actually help us to predict things in the world around us Stereotype accuracy  Controversial  Answers are typically contradictory and confusing  If you find that a negative stereotype is false, you look like a hero  If you find that a negative stereotype is true, you look like a jerk  Depending on what you find, people are either going to like you or hate you  This is why people don’t like to do this kind of research  Often talk about a grain of truth in a stereotype  They have to come from somewhere  Often come from illusory correlations  By definition, illusory correlations give you some grain of truth (saw this person do that thing)  However, we use outgroup homogeneity in this process  We don’t consider the heterogeneity of the group  Could represent some percentage of the group, but we assume 100%  E.g. it could be the case that 22% of Martians pee in potted plants  Some grain of truth  It’s true for 22% of Martians, not for 100%  A stereotype is accurate when it agrees with empirical evidence  E.g. if you think a certain group is violent, and the empirical evidence agrees with you, the stereotype is accurate  To find it to be completely accurate would be very rare (i.e. 100%)  However, you could be accurate in direction (e.g. this group is more violent than that group)  Still inaccurate in terms of the magnitude  Inaccurate when your stereotype is at odds with empirical evidence (e.g. less violent than that group)  Could also argue that it is inaccurate when the direction is right, but the magnitude is wrong  Two famous pieces of research about this  Come up with somewhat different results  Probably depends on the situation whether the stereotype is more or less accurate Stereotypes as inaccurate  Really interested in prejudice  Noticed that when Armenians immigrated to the US, particularly to California, fleeing from the genocide during WWI, a stereotype developed quite quickly  Dishonest, deceitful, money-grubbing  Most of the dishonesty and deceit is about money  In Allport’s book, he mentioned that he thought Armenians might be like Jewish people, and that’s where the stereotype came from  May also have come from an illusory correlation  Gave people a survey  Confirmed that these were traits people associate with Armenians  Was able to investigate whether or not it was actually true  He compared credit scores between Armenians and Caucasians  If the stereotype is correct, Armenians should have worse ratings than Caucasians  Also looked at the percentage of lawsuits involving money (e.g. if someone has to sue you because you didn’t give them their money, you’re being dishonest about money)  Charitable foundations (take handouts, rather than pay yourself)  Takes a while to build up good credit  Unfair since Armenians hadn’t been in the US for very long by the time of this study  W.r.t. the charitable foundations, you’re an immigrant  Should be using these if you don’t have good credit or a lot of money  Armenians should look really bad  They actually look really good Credit risk findings  Non-Armenians were much more likely to have good credit  Armenians were more likely to have fair credit  No difference in who had bad credit  If you group this into “okay” versus “not okay”, you get no significant differences  No difference even though they are very new to the US  Should have had very little money coming to the US considering the state in Armenia Other findings  Armenians were also much less likely to be involved in lawsuits involving money  Also less likely to use available charities than White Americans (even though they might have needed it more)  Concluded that there is no support for the stereotype  Completely inaccurate  Doesn’t match the empirical evidence  Could be from the Jewish stereotype, an illusory correlation, etc  Always see disconfirming evidence, but we often don’t notice it  It would require a lot of cognitive effort  Even if you notice it, you may not be willing to deeply process and encode it  Don’t want to rewrite your stereotypes  Completely wrong as of 1935  The
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