Stereotype: a set of attributes and traits associated with a group of people
Prejudice: biased evaluation of a group based on the traits associated with that group
Discrimination: negative behaviour towards someone based on their group membership
Why do we categorize people?
- There is an infinite amount of stimuli in our environment and unfortunately we have a limited
cognitive system so we categorize things to remember larger amounts of information that is
associated in one large bulk.
Stereotypes are traits associated with a category
- Think of fruit being a category… what makes up fruit? You have traits like seeds.
- This can be useful when making predictions.
- These are also based on some small elements of truth
- Are fast and efficient but have a tendency to be overgeneralized
We categorize people into groups:
- In-group is the group we considered ourselves a part of
- Out-groups are considered the “foreign” groups we do not associate ourselves with
Categorizing highlights the differences between groups.
We tend to think more positively of in-groups than out-groups. There is homogeneity among both
Romer, Jamieson & deCoteau (1998) findings: perpetrators and victims tend to be of the same race (10%
black on whites vs. 18% white on black)
- African Americans are victims 80% of the time but whites are shown as victims more often.
- When African Americans are the perpetrators, whites are shown more as victims than blacks.
Three and four year olds show race preference (whites are preferred)
Sinclair, Dunn, & Lowery (2005)
- Parents will only influence children when identify children identify with the parent.
- No correlation between parent and child.
- So, this means that when children are prejudice early it is not because of the parents.
Re-fence stereotype – disliking a group of people but having one person being the exception.
- Not only maintains stereotyping but makes people feel they are not being prejudice. Macrae, Milne, & Bodenhausen (1994): humans developed cognitive “tools” that allow us to efficiently
analyze our social environments.
- Stereotypes allow us to make useful predictions and we rely on these when we feel tired or
- Stereotypes improved recall.
Confirmation bias: stereotypes
Hugenberg & Bodenhausen (2003): prejudice white people saw anger much more easily on black
- Can affect online perceptions
People want to maintain their self-esteem because they want to feel good. When people are challenged,
they get protective and want to regain their self-esteem. Stereotyping is a way that people can reclaim
Fein & Spencer (1997): being prejudice makes people feel good.
Reasons people will use stereotypes:
- Improves self-esteem
- Maintaining status quo
- People are afraid of standing up to them; giving the responsibility to someone else.
Stereotype suppression: society’s solution to stereotyping. Because society dislikes stereotyping, we no
longer feel like it is acceptable to voice them so we don’t. With this, we really have not eradicated the
Mental control with prejudice:
- Three components of this:
Operating process (OP): this process is resource intensive and takes energy to
meet the objective state. This process does not occur without an individual
actively seeking to change. Prevents stereotyping from occurring.
Monitoring process (MP): is a comparison of the current state you are in with
the preferred state you want to be in. This process does not require any
resources and happens automatically. Allows stereotyping to occur.
Ways stereotyping can occur:
- The operating process fails
- Under load (aka the brain is exhausted or not being challenged) Mcrae, Bode