Nov. 15, 2012
- Why are stereotypes objectionable?
o 1. The implicit ethnocentrism
Ex. when we say Americans are ignorant, the implicit ethnocentrism is that we
(Canadians) are smart and we know everything
o 2. The implication that perceived differences are inborn and unalterable
Ex. These differences are inborn; (ex. All Asians are bright and good at math… these are
not skills, not influenced by our culture)
- Lippmann (1922), a political journalist, described stereotype as the “pictures in our heads.”
o A way of molding or creating an image from something.
How Do Stereotypes Form?
- Social categorization
o The basic factor of understanding stereotype. Once you categorize people, in any dimension
(gender, ethnicity, age, ability, education, religion, etc.) we end to prefer in-group over out-group
o Grouping people on the basis of gender ethnicity, and other attributes
o Consequences of categorical thinking is:
Out-group homogeneity (we overestimate other groups similarity)
Social Identity Theory
- Social identity is part of an individual’s self-concept that is based on the knowledge of one’s group
membership and the value and emotional significance attached to that membership (Tajfel, 1978).
o First aspect: membership; you are a member of your group (psych major, Canadian, student)
o Second aspect: the value you associate with that membership – how good or bad is that
o Third aspect is emotional attachment with the group you identify with.
- Assumptions of social identity theory:
o People categorize the social world into in-groups and out-groups
o Part of our self-concept is defined in terms of group affiliation
o People strive for a positive self-concept – want to see ourselves positively
o People prefer to view members of in-group positively rather than negatively; by perceiving our
group positively, we increase our self-esteem because this reflects on us
Is Stereotype Inevitable?
- Stereotype as automatic process
o Subliminal presentation (Devine, 1989)
Showed people series of images on a computer screen. These images presented so
quickly people couldn’t read them. These images were random things like “basketball”,
“welfare”. These were meant to create stereotypes against African-American. People
who saw basketball, unemployed, etc. things that are related to blacks, they’re more
likely to view African-Americans negatively. Thought they were more likely to rob a
convenience store, for example. - Controlling automatic activation
o Pretty difficult to control something that you aren’t even aware you are doing. Preventing people
from stereotyping is not enough. You need motivation, too.
o Motivation and devoting cognitive resources could lead to suppression of stereotypes
You actually have to catch yourself stereotyping, and then stop yourself.
Bodenhausen’s (1990) experiment
People have a 24 hour cycle. (Circadian rhythms) – someone who gets up
around 7, heightened memory around 10am. As time passes, physiological
changes + going to bed at midnight. People have different Circadian rhythms.
Had participants come into the lab for a study that had to do with cognitive
tasks. Tested in the morning for sharpness of tasks, and tested in the evening
where they are not as cognitively sharp. Vice versa for people who are better at
night and worse in the morning. When people are tested at the wrong time,
when their cognitive ability is not heightened, they are more likely to engage in
stereotype. This is laziness and an automatic process, we give little cognitive
attention to a task when we are not being questioned at a time where we can
direct our attention to the task
- Stereotypes are often used to justify the in-group’s behaviour towards the out-group because:
o If you believe blondes are dumb, you are less likely to give them a high ranking position.
o Stereotypes serve as a way of reflecting social reality
o Stereotypes serve as a way of perpetuating the existing intergroup relationships
- Holding stereotypes create tendencies to confirm our biases and overlook inconsistent information
o Applies for mortga