Prejudice and Stereotyping
- An attitude
- Ex. If I am prejudice against native peoples, then that means I dislike
natives as a whole.
- Made up of three components:
1) Affect or Emotion- representing the type of emotion linked with
an attitude ( ex. Warms, anger)
2) Cognitive- involving the beliefs or thoughts (cognition) that make
up the attitude
3) Behavioural- relating to one’s actions-people don’t simply hold
attitudes, they usually act on them as well.
Prejudice: Affective Component
- prejudice refers to the general attitude structure and its affective
- Can involve either negative or positive affect. Ex. --> you could be
prejudiced against or in favor of Torontonians. In one case, your
emotional reaction is negative: When a person is introduced to you as
“Mike from Toronto,” you will expect him to act in a certain way that
you associate with “those snobbish Torontonians.” Conversely, if your
emotional reaction is positive, you will be delighted to meet another
one of those “sophisticated, cosmopolitan Torontonians”
- Prejudice consequently refers to as a hostile or negative attitude
toward people in a distinguishable group, based solely on their
membership in that group. Ex. If I am prejudice against native peoples,
then that means I dislike natives as a whole.
Stereotypes: The Cognitive components
- a generalization about a group f people in which identical
characteristics are assigned to virtually all members of the group,
regardless of actual variation among the members. Once formed,
stereotypes are resistant to change on the basis of new information.
- Gordon All port was thing of stereotyping as “the law of least effort”.
The world is just too complicated for us to have a highly differentiated
attitude about everything. Instead we maximize our cognitive time and
energy by developing elegant, accurate attitudes about some topics,
while relying on simple sketchy beliefs about others.
Discrimination: The Behavioural Component
- Unjustified negative or harmful action toward a member of a group,
simply because of his or her member in that group.
- Ex! if you’re a police officer and you have a stereotypic belief that
black people are more violent than white people; this might affect your
behaviour toward a specific black man you are trying to arrest.
What Causes Prejudice?
- Prejudice might be built in, as part of our biological survival mechanism
inducing us to favor our own family, tribe, or race, and to express
hostility towards outsiders.
- Our tendency to categorize and group information together, to form
schemas and to use these to interpret new or unusual information, to
reply on potentially inaccurate heuristics (shortcuts in mental
reasoning), and to depend on what are often faulty memory processes-
al of these aspects of social cognition can leads us to form negative
stereotypes and to apply them in a discriminator way.
- The creation of groups!putting some people in one group based on
certain characteristics and others in another group based on their
different characteristics. This is the underlying theme of human social
- In group members! the tendency to evaluate in-group members more
positively than out-group members. People tend to think negatively
towards out-group members and tend to like in-group members.
- The tendency to discriminate against the out-group is even stronger
when people have chosen their group rather than been randomly
assigned to it.
- Two reasons why we have the tendency to favour the in-group and
discriminate against the out-group
1) Belonging to a group gives us a social identity
!People gain social identity benefits from dividing the world
into “us” and “them”.
2) Having a social identity contributes to feelings of self-esteem.
! It gives us a self-esteem boost if they believe that their
group is superior and that other groups are inferior.
! When our self-esteem is threatened, we are especially
likely to denigrate the out-group as a means of restoring
feelings of self- worth.
- another consequence of social categorization
- The perception that those in the out-group are more similar
(homogeneous) to each other than they really are, as well as more
similar than the members of the in-group are to each other.
We can minimize such effects by changing the people’s perceptions of “us” and
1) One approach is to change the people’s perceptions of “us” and “them”
by either promoting a common identity or by emphasizing the super
ordinate groups to which in-group and out-group members belong.
Prejudice and discrimination can be reduced when people’s focus
shifts from membership in their specific in-group to a broader group
that includes members of the out-group.
2) Provide with an alternative route to self-esteem, so they won’t have to
step on other to be on top. There is evidence that prejudice is
diminished when groups share a common identity or goal.
-our attitudes toward members of another group are determined not only be our
stereotype of that group but also by our perception of that group’s stereotype of
Devine’s theory of a Two-Step Model of Cognitive Processing:
1) The automatic processing- bring up information automatically-in this case,
stereotypes. It occurs whenever an appropriate stimulus is encountered,
either a member of a stereotypical group or contact with a stereotypical
statement, causing the stereotypes for that group to be accessed from
memory. Automatic processing occurs without your awareness. You
don’t purposely think of these thoughts, they just happen or is triggered by
the presence of the stimulus.
2) The controlled (or conscious) processing- can refute or ignore the
stereotypes. They tend to suppress or override stereotypes. It occurs with
your awareness as when you choose to disregard or ignore the
stereotyped information that has been brought to mind. Those of us who
want to be non-prejudiced are less likely to activate negative stereotypes
automatically when we encounter stereotype-relevant cues.
-Another factor that determines whether we automatically activate stereotypes is
whether we will get a self-esteem boost by doing so. Example- Michael received
a bad mark on his term paper by his professor who was Black. Michael’s
stereotype of black people is they are not very competent. Hence this would
allow him to dismiss the criticism of his work as stemming from an incompetent
source (the black professor) with the result that he will not feel as bad about his
negative evaluation. So we pick and choose when to activate our stereotype and
which stereotypes to activate or inhibit.