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PSYC12 Reading 1 By ABI 1.docx

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Konstantine Zakzanis

PSYC12 Reading 1(Chapter one) – Introduction to the study of stereotyping and prejudice - Humans have a tendency to form groups. Some groups can be restricted to others based on special skills, family relations, gender and power. Humans have found that by forming groups, it has made life easier. “Groups are the basic building blocks of society”. - Groups are not just restricted to humans, but animals as well. It has become a natural event for BOTH animals and humans as forming groups, has shown survival benefits. These survival benefits include, fighting off predators, and raising offspring successfully. Although there are benefits that forming a group has, it also has disadvantages such as mate competition and mate control, forming close ties with their own group [ingroup] and developing reject toward other members [outgroup]. Even when the group assigned to someone, was completely random, people tend to show preferred likeness to their own group members in that group [minimal group]. - Even though these preferences may have an adaptive usage from evolutionary and practical perspectives, they still form – FEELINGS about another group (prejudice); and they also BELIEVE that certain characteristics are associated with certain out-groups (stereotype). This is usually because the outgroup members are seen to be hostile [aggressive, unfriendly] to the in-group’s values. Evolutionary psychology suggests that ingroup preferences and hostility toward outgroups are adaptive and therefore innate, and thus there is LITTLE we can do about prejudice and hostility. SO does this mean that prejudice and stereotyping are not stoppable?? An analysis of intergroup hostility shows that there is NO basis for disliking others just bc they belong to another group. - All of history’s wars, battles, and other acts of group violence have been driven by some form of prejudice, stereotyping/discrimination for ex. The Holocaust, American civil war, the American slave trade, and the genocide in Rwanda. Also most of the intergroup hostility has been based on the difference in religious beliefs. - A lot of people in US, think that prejudice no longer exists bc of the voting right act of 1965 etc. It is true that OVERT [open] expressions of racial prejudice and intergroup have DECLINDE, racial prejudices stereotypes DO exist. Typically any group [racial, gender, religion, blond heads] have been the target of prejudice.  Here are some newspaper headlines displaying examples of intergroup violence that are driven just by prejudice. In 2002 gay actor Rev Broudy suffered a brutal attack outside his apartment. In 1988 two young men beat Matthew, an openly gay student. In 1998, three white men offered a ride to James, a black man. DEFINING STEROTYPE Lippmann’s Stereotype Stereotype originally comes from a term to describe a printing process in which fixed groups of material are produced. This term was adopted by social scientists when a journalist Walter Lippmann used the term stereotype to describe the tendency of people to think of someone or something- based on the common feature shared by two people. He stated that we all have pictures in our heads of the outside world, and that these representations are templates that simplify the confusing info we receive from the world. He noted that stereotypes tell us what social info is important to perceive and to disregard in our environment. Stereotyping from Bad to Neutral Other researchers defined stereotype as an outward indicator of irrational(not logical), nonanalytic cognition. Other researchers defined it as rigid [not flexible] thinking. And the others regarded it as an external sign of the stereotyper’s moral defectiveness [something that’s missing]. However, researchers started to drift away from the inclusion of assessments of the morality or correctness of the stereotype or the stereotyper. Allport had moved away from including evaluative assessments and he defined a stereotype as an exaggerated belief associated with a category. Other psychologist argued that stereotyping has to be examined as a normal psychological process. The Social Cognitive Definition In the 1970s, when social cognition was born, researchers came to think of stereotyping as an automatic process of categorization that many cognitive and social psychologists believe is inherent [innate] in the nature that humans think of the world.  Brigham defined stereotyping as “ generalization made about a …group concerning a trait attribution which is considered to be unjustified [unfair] by an observer”.  A stereotype is ANY generalization about a group whether an observer [either a member of the stereotyped group or another observer] believes it s fair or NOT.  Generalization by definition means, a group is bound to be unjustified [unfair] for some part of the group members.  Other researchers have adopted to Hamilton and Trolier’s definition of stereotype as “a cognitive structure that contains the perceiver’s knowledge, beliefs and expectations about a human group”. Even though both Hami and troiler have included in their definition that stereotype is the association between a group and ones belief about the group, the definition also includes ones knowledge and expectations of the group. Hami and troi’s definition of stereotype sounds more like schema. Schema is a cognitive structure that represents knowledge about a concept or type of stimulus including its attributes and the relations among those attributes. - Schemas are then broader cognitive structures that contain our knowledge of a stimulus, our expectation or the motives or behavior of the stimulus and our feelings toward the stimulus. Stereotypes are much more SPECIFIC and are included IN A schema. - For instance ones schema of librarians may contain knowledge about their job, expectations for motives, how to feel about librarians and ones beliefs (stereotypes). Another definition is by Ashmore and Del Boca, defines stereotypes as “ a set of beliefs about the personal attributes of a group of people”. This book will use Ashmore’s definition because it restricts the meaning of stereotype to a generalization about a group of people. Culture and Individual Stereotypes It is important to differentiate between cultural[shared or community-wide patterns of beliefs] and individual stereotypes[describes the beliefs held by an individual about the characteristics of a group! - Ashmore and Del Boca, suggest that adjective rating scales used by Katz and Braly, tend to assess cultural stereotypes. - ANY other measure of stereotype content in which the respondent’s answers are restricted to the stereotype content choices offered by the measure tends to provide an INACCURATE measure of the person’s stereotype of the group. - This is important because one’s cultural stereotype about a group may not be the same as ones individual stereotype about the group. - A question is which of the 2, cultural or individual drive’s tend to predict future behavior and attitudes toward a given group? Although, Lippmann suggested that “we perceive that which we have picked out in the form stereotyped for us by culture”. Most researchers seem to be interested, mainly in in assessing individual stereotypes because many experiments have demonstrated that these are more directly related to the person’s thoughts, feelings and behavior towards the group. Is a Stereotype an Attitude? - Some researchers believe that a stereotype is similar to an attitude. An attitude is a general evaluation of some object and it is usually viewed as falling somewhere on a good, bad or unfavorable attitude. Attitudes are viewed as having a 3 component part to it: behavioral, affective, and cognitive. This is why some theorists define stereotypes as intergroup attitudes, that are divided into THREE parts. BUT still most of the researchers agree that stereotypes represent only the cognitive part of any intergroup attitude. The other two parts more so match prejudice and discrimination. Discrimination is known as any – behavior that is focused on an individual based on their membership. In conclusion, even though a stereotype is NOT an attitude, an intergroup attitude is composed of one’s thoughts or beliefs about, feelings toward, and behavior toward a certain group. Positive VS. Negative Stereotypes - Researchers do not think of stereotypes as being bad or good. Rather they are just generalizations about a group. There are more negative stereotypes than positive. But some exs. Of positive one is associating Asians with intelligence. Positive stereotypes = desirable characteristics. But the question is WHY would ppl regret being part of a = stereotype. Defining Prejudice - Gardner suggests that the word prejudice can be taken literally to indicate a prejudgment about something. Prejudice can suggest an evaluation, either +/-, toward a stimulus. Gardner again defined prejudice in which the individual has a – evaluation of another stimulus. It is easy to recognize that the last two definitions uses evaluation. In the end an evaluation is an attitude. From past to now, expressions of racism have changed to being overt to subtle. Prejudice as Negative Affect - Early theorists defined prejudice in terms of its affective side. In a book The Nature of Prejudice, Allport defined prejudice as “an antipathy (intense dislike)” based on a faulty and inflexible generalization bc someone belongs to a certain group. It could be directed to an individual or a group as a whole. Prejudice is the affective part of the intergroup attitude. Most researchers retired the definition of the emotional definition of prejudice and moved on to prejudice as an attitude. Prejudice as an Attitude - A problem with the earlier definitions of prejudice is that, it focuses on the – affect toward the outgroup. This LIMITS the definition of prejudice since prejudice can also be + and in favor of one’s ingroup [ingroup favoritism]. Prejudice can be focused on affective (anger), cognitive (beliefs linking hostility to the outgroup) or behavioral (avoidant or hostile). Although it seems that most prejudice is merely based on the affective part [anger]. - 3 men Ford, and 2 s’es found that the best way to predict – outgroup prejudice is not NEGTIVE FEELINGS but a LACK of + emotions. More stronger and obvious forms of prejudice are based on strong – emotions but the more subtle ones of prejudice may be based on the absence of + feelings about the outgroup. In a study, they assessed all 3 parts of attitude in a college of White kids and they found that the majority was affect and behavior. The authors then suggests that the quality of an intergroup interaction is most DEPENDENT on “ how good people feel” NOT how well they think of group members. - Based on Eagly and Diekman they say that prejudice should be regarded as an “attitude in context”. According to this, prejudice is NOT inflexible but it depends on the match bw the social role into which the stereotyped individual is trying to fit and the beliefs of the perceiver about the attributes that are needed for the success in that role. These men argue that prejudice is most likely to be displayed toward a disadvantaged group when the group tries to move into roles for which they are believed by the majority group to be unqualified. - There are some criticisms about viewing prejudice as an attitude. First, some theorists assert than an attitude or evaluation is NOT the same as affect. If prejudice is an affect based reaction to a stimulus group then it cannot be the case that an evaluation of the group is the same thing as prejudice. Second, asserts that the notion that prejudice has an affective, cognitive and behavioral component is problematic bc research shows that the three parts are NOT always consistent. Prejudice as a Social Emotion - Self-categorization theory by turner states that: people view themselves as a member of a social category or a group [racial, national, ethnic or religious group]. Based on this theory, intergroup interactions will make noticeable [conscious awareness] group categorizations, depending on the nature of the group interaction. Turner suggests that these self-categorizations are strongly linked to one’s self-identity. Thus when it is more noticeable, any self-relevant information in the interaction has affective and motivational consequences. - Based on Smith and Ellsworth, an appraisal is a set of cognitions [thoughts] that are attached to a certain emotion. Emotion in appraisal theory is caused by an assessment of the adaptive significance and self- relevance [importance] of the people and events in one’s environment. - For instance, the emotion of fear might be drawn out when one perceives that a situation or individual is out of one’s control or unpleasant and blocks one from reaching ones goal of staying alive or staying healthy. - There are TWO key differences in smith’s understanding of prejudice that make it different; he says that it is too unclear to say prejudice is a +/- feeling because our emotional reactions to others are specific; anger, fear and so on. The second difference is the traditional understanding of prejudice suggests that if we are prejudiced against another group [lawyers], then we should react with the same – affect to ALL members of the group every time we see them. BUT this doesn’t happen because many people can hate a certain type of group but have a positive attitude toward a friend in that same field. - Some state that this can be defined by subtyping; where the prejudiced individual maintains a – affect toward the group but creates a sep. category for specific members [friend, boyfriend, cousin], thereby allowing the perceivers stereotypes to continue in the face of what would otherwise be a stereotype disconfirming case. - However Smith states that this confuses of how we react to other people does NOT depend on the type of group member they are, but who a person is, in what context and how we appraise(assess) the individual in terms of our goals. - How we react to any outgroup member depends on:
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