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Bodenhausen article notes

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Michael Inzlicht

Bodenhausen & Macrae article “The Self-Regulation of Intergroup Perception” Intro  Through relationships and interactions, people make behavioural choices based on subjective interpretations of their surroundings  Important potential source of divergence b/w subjective interpretations and objective truths is the use of inferential processes (AKA CONCLUSION BASED ON EVIDENCE)  use detectable characteristics of social stimuli to derive assumed characteristics that are not otherwise initially perceived . E.g. stereotyping The Well-Intentioned Cognitive Miser: Mental Dilemmas of Multicultural Societies *Cognitive miser is the idea that only a small amount of information is actively perceived by individuals when making decisions, and many cognitive shortcuts (such as drawing on prior information and knowledge) are used instead to attend to relevant information and arrive at a decision  conflicting concerns and interests rise in modern social environments  for many individuals, the notion of relying on stereotypes to judge others has developed unpleasant connotations  the appeal of engaging in stereotyping has many sides/aspects:  social perceivers can satisfy important motivations by viewing others in stereotypic terms  they feel better about themselves and construct superior images of their own social groups by developing unfavourable impressions of out-groups  by developing beliefs about disadvantaged groups that justify their reason for experiencing unequal resource distribution, advantaged groups feel more comfortable with social inequality  stereotyping allows social perceivers to conserve mental resources while still producing coherent social impressions  the metaphor of “cognitive miser” captures the human tendency to “satisfice” rather than optimize (refer back to cognitive miser definition)  unless there is a pressing motivational force for accuracy, stereotyping may be the preferred path to a social impression for most perceivers.  Stereotyping confers a sense of predictability and orderliness on a complex social world, for many perceivers  One automatized, stereotypes may spring to the mind in the presence of outgroup members, whether they are desired or not, and the perceiver may not be able to control/prevent this initial activation  In an influential paper by Devine (1989), she found that individuals who do not personally subscribe to stereotypical beliefs about African Americans, were affected by these stereotypes when they had been “primed” by the presentation by group labelsstereotypes can have unintended unpreventable effects  A growing body of literature shows that activation of social categories does occur spontaneously, that is affected by psychological factors.  For example is a person’s membership in a social category is contextually salient (being the only black person in a group), the person is likely to be spontaneously categorized.  Characteristics of the perceiver, such as personal prejudices, affect the stereotype activation process.  They make certain bases for social categorization chronically salient; when members of targeted categories are encountered, they tend to be categorized routinely based on group membership  Zarate and Smith (1990) demonstrated that people who readily categorized others in terms of their race, were also likely to draw stereotypic inferences about them.  Thus, although some conditions interfere w/ spontaneous activation of stereotypes, stereotypic notions can creep automatically into perceivers’ thoughts  Stereotyping may have origins in several motivational forces, but it develops into an automatic mental habit, even if the perceiver’s motivations change  The habitual nature of stereotyping is reinforced by systematic information-processing biases that contribute to the creation of an illusory mental database that supports stereotypic beliefs.  Stereotype-confirming information leads to memory bias which is stronger with well-developed stereotypes such sex, and race.  Facts: Ambiguous information tends to construed as stereotypie-confirming; stereotypic conjectures and fantasies tend to be misremembered as facts; attributions for behaviour of stereotyped targets tend to perpetuate stereotypic ideas (e.g women succeed in masculine tasks b/c of luck); perceivers may react to stereotyped targets in ways that elicit stereotype-confirming behaviour (e.g self-fulfilling preophecy)  These processes tend to produce database of knowledge that confirm the original stereotypic expectancies held by perceiver, even if the evidence has been unconsciously tainted. * b/c stereotypic biases can disadvantage members of stigmatized social groups in important ways, identifying mechanisms that produce and maintain the validity of stereotypes in the minds of social perceivers has been an important scientific accomplishment  Many people have developed egalitarian values, yet they have been socialized to hold stereotypic views and prejudiced feelings towards many minority groups.  Monteith (1993). Stated that when peoples thoughts, feelings, or behaviour seem to violate their egalitarian/nonprejudiced standards, they become self-focuses and direct effort at reducing this discrepancy.  Low-prejudice persons feel bad when their reactions to out-group members violate their own nonprejudiced standards, so they are motivated to avoid stereotyping  Those who have not internalized nonprejudiced standards may be motivated to avoid stereotyping b/c of the strong disapproval that comes with it  While the stereotyping process occurs automatically, successfully overriding this process undoubtedly requires some controlled conscious effort Governing the Society of Mind: Self-Regulation of Mental Processes  Baumesiter and Newman (1994) reviewed evidence that shows when a person prefers a specific conclusion, they tend to process info in a biases way that permits exactly this conclusion to be drawn. This process may involve:  Selectively attending to preferred evidence, setting differential evidential criteria for preferred vs. Nonpreferred conclusions, and many other mechanisms that are automatic and not consciously intended - a lawyer in this situation, for example, may be unaware that any “massaging” of evidence has occurred and may believe their judgments to be objective—even when they’re really not.  In order to counter the effects of automatic stereotypical judgements, one strategy is to make direct adjustments to one’s judgements and conclusions in the direction opposite to the presumed bias doing so have lead to suppression of their stereotypes (usually done by more ambitious perceivers).  Wegner and Colleagues have developed a dual process model of thought control that starts with the realization that for any control process to be effective, it must be able to test the status of the environment, and to operate on the environment when the test process yields less than satisfactory results  E.g. in the case of mental control, there must be a process to monitor mental contents and a process to operate on mental contents when an undesired thought is detected by the monitoring process  When the social perceiver resolves to suppress stereotypic reactions to an out-group member, this goal sets in motion a monitor
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