Maintenance of Stereotypes
Racists for Obama –article
Racists did vote for Obama – they used racial slurs but would still vote for him. Why?
Don Cherry – is thought to be a racist. He can have the opinion that most French
Canadians are awful but he likes some of them, because they are ‘awesome people
that deviate from the norm’. This kind of creates a them and us fenced in opinion.
Racist people can still like some people that are within the group that they are racist
against because these people are ‘different’ or a ‘subtype’ from the group
Refence stereotype – disconfirming individuals
Allows for maintenance of stereotypes and prejudice
• While they do say that there are subtypes of the group, the frame of the
stereotype is still there.
Allows people to feel non-prejudiced
Macrae, Milne, & Bodenhausen (1994)
Humans have developed cognitive ‘tools’ allowing us to analyze social environment
Stereotypes are one of these ‘tools’
• They allow us to forego effortful individuation
• They make useful predictions
• When taxed, people use stereotypes
Are stereotypes energy-saving devices?
Participants performed two tasks simultaneously
• Task 1 – Impression Formation
o Name of person followed by 10 trait items that are associated with the
o Half given a stereotypic label (e.g. doctor, artist, skinhead). Half given no
o Half of the traits were stereotypic, half neutral • Task 2 – Information Monitoring
o Participants heard a 2 minute passage on Indonesia – used to distract
them from their memory task
• DV: Recall of traits with appropriate targets; performance on multiple-choice test
Image of man – we base our opinions of other people on what we see but also what
goes on in our head.
• The world appears not so much as it is, but as we are.
o We see what we want to see
Bruner and Goodman (1947)
People were shown disks and asked
estimate the size of the disks. They were given
a unit of measurement to use.
• Getting a zero meant that you were
estimating exactly what you saw
• However, some people were given
actual coins instead of disks
o When just estimating the disks,
they were pretty accurate
o When estimating the coins’ size, they perceived them as much larger than
they were. This was in a systematic manner • What happened: the physical size varied based on the value given to the coin –
valuing $0.25 over $0.01, $0.25 would seem larger
In second half of study, the participants were all judging coins instead of disks. Were
divided into two groups based on whether they came from a rich or poor family.
• Everyone estimated the sizes to be larger than
they actually are. There is a systematic bias of the
bigger in amount coins seeming larger
• The participants from poor families judged the coins to
be even larger than the participants from rich families
o For the poor, the value of even the smaller
valued coins as being worth more than for the rich
Study: people were more likely to give negative attributes to black people over white
people, even when people were given the same script/expression/clothing
Stereotypes bias information in confirmatory manner
• Confirming info more fully processed