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Lecture 5

PSYC12H3 Lecture Notes - Lecture 5: Authoritarianism, Implicit Stereotype, Political Correctness

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Michael Inzlicht

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Police Officers Dilemma
Who to shoot and who not to shoot
In general, police officers are often correct and accurate
But not always
What kinds of errors do they make? Who do they shoot by accident and who do they not shoot by
Amadu Diallo—East African/Somalian immigrant living in NYC; was shot down in the hail of 41
bullets by police. Police was looking for a legit target who was a Black man, and Amady Diallo was
there, and police officer told him to put his hands up. He put his hands in his pocket. Police officer
shot him—putting hands in pocket is a dangerous sign. Amadu Diallo meant to pull out his ID, but
police officers mistakenly saw a gun or lethal weapon
Is it possible that these kinds of errors are made more often for some people relative to others?
YouTube video
Michael Moore- The Awful Truth
“Seems like when a police officer sees a Black person, they see a monster”
“When they see a Black person hold something, they see a gun”
Amadu Diallo
Can we devise some sort of implicit test that takes advantage of stereotypes and these kinds of
associations to measure people’s prejudice?
Observations in the paper
Expectancies about social categories guide interpretations
Study—race of the person on the screen changes, and whether they are holding a gun or not changes
White participants are to judge whether the person is holding a gun or not and shoot if they are
Error rates
People make fewer errors when people are armed versus when they are unarmed (people
shoot more unarmed innocent victims than withholding shooting armed people)
Not shooting White armed people errors > not shooting Black armed people errors
Shooting innocent unarmed Black people errors > shooting innocent unarmed White people
This is another measure for bias, measuring associations between race and character traits
Prejudiced Personality?
Are certain personalities more prejudiced than others?
Adorno—described Authoritarianism
Submissive to authority, strict adherence to social norms, rigid thinkers
Freudian Approach: Strict disciplinarian parents, project deviant impulses to outgroup
Weren’t really allowed to express their desires, projected uncomfortable feelings to outgroups
Problems with this approach
We don’t know what the Germans’ parents were like
Moreover, in Authoritarianism there are not specific targets, but the Germans had specific
Right-wing Authoritarianism
Altemeyer described right-wing Authoritarianism
Talking less in terms of personality, but more in terms of ideology and belief systems that can be
cultivated and learned
Submissive to authority, aggression towards outgroups, conventional thinking
These are people who are politically conservative, and equal opportunity bigots
A lot of research links political conservatism, which has some elements of authoritarianism, with

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That doesn’t mean political parties in Canada are like that
Right-winged beliefs tend to go hand-in-hand with closed-mindedness
Problems with this
If you want to explain things like the Holocaust, these guys are equal opportunity bigots, then why
were Jews and Gypsies targeted?
At first, it was thought to be a defective personality
But then Milgram and Zimbardo came along
We started learning about how evil can be created in a laboratory setting just be listening to
authority figures, this can happen to even well-intentioned individuals
Social Dominance Orientation (SDO)
Think of this as a modern version of authoritarianism
They don’t have that psychodynamic baggage, but nonetheless it’s a similar kind of idea
It’s more about a philosophical ideology and not personality; the way the world is and ought to be
Preference for inequality among social groups
Some people really think that this is normal and that’s how the way things are—there should be
differences—and they allow for reasons for differences. Those who have earned their spot are up
there, and those who are below don’t have what is needed to get things done
Higher status groups tend to be high in SDO
It justifies their privileged status in society
“Our position is not unfair, it’s justified”
Lower status people tend to be low in SDO
SDO provides “legitimizing myth”
Legitimizing status
Who is high and low in SDO?
Occupational status (Police [high] vs. Public Defender) tends to predict this—but it is unclear why—
do people believing in equality tend to gravitate toward becoming a public defender, or is it the job
that makes them believe in such things? Professor thinks it is probably the latter
Group status (Men [higher] vs. Women [lower])
Some people can justify hierarchies by looking at the rest of the animal kingdom
Equalizing things makes the world unnatural
Personality talks about conscientiousness, extraversion, etc.
Prejudice doesn’t really hang together with these things, with the one exception being openness
Closed-minded people are afraid of novelty, want things to fit in certain categories—they may
be more likely to be prejudiced
Pratto & Shih, 2000—paper
High SDOs show more explicit bias
Do they show implicit bias too?
High and Low SDO people
Gave them an Evaluative Priming Task (another new implicit measure that can get at things such as
Presented with good and bad words; asked to evaluate word
Before word is presented, subjects are primed with pronouns (“Us” versus “Them”)
Reaction Time for words paired with pronouns
Study 1 = Looked at people High vs Low in SDO
Study 2 = Looked at people High vs Low in SDO after threat
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