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Chapter 1- Introduction to the study of stereotyping and prejudice

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Michael Inzlicht

CHAPTER 1: Introduction to the Study of Stereotyping and Prejudice Groups are not unique to humans. Some researchers theorize that the tendency to form groups is such a basic part of the nature of animals, including humans, and has conveyed survival benefits so successful that it has (e.g. fighting off predators, raising offspring successfully) withstood time and evolution. There are some disadvantages and complications that groups bring: Mate competition Mate retention. They tend to form closer ties to members of their own group, and they tend to be suspicious and rejecting of members of other groups. Groups tend to favor their own groups (called in-groups) over other groups to which they do not belong (out groups) Randomly assigning people to group A or group B is an example of minimal group; people tend to show preference for members of their own group over those of other groups. They form the basis for negative feelings about other groups (prejudice) and for believing that certain characteristics are associated with other groups (forming stereotypes) often because out-group members are perceived to be antithetical to the in-groups welfare or values. Evolutionary psychology suggests, in-group preferences and hostility toward out groups are adaptive, and therefore innate, there is little we can do to avoid prejudice and stereotyping. Why is the study of prejudice and stereotyping important? A need to understand the negative influence such thinking has on the thoughts, feelings, and behaviour of people in their daily lives, and how they relate to the targets of their prejudice, it is important to understand that such negative attitudes form the basis for subsequent negative intergroup behaviour. [Wars] Some believe that there is a huge decline in prejudice and stereotyping in the US, but its just that overt expressions of racial prejudice and intergroup hatred have declined dramatically, racial prejudice and stereotypes have by no means disappeared. www.notesolution.comDEFINING STEREOTYPING Lippmanns stereotype Originally derives from a term to describe a printing process in which fixed casts of material are reproduced. Lippmann used the word to describe the tendency of people to think of someone or something in similar terms that is, as having similar attributes based on a common feature shared by each. He said that we all have pictures in our heads (p.3) of the world outside and that their representations are more likely templates into which we try to simplify the sometimes-confusing information we receive from the world. We pick out what our culture has already defined for us, and we tend to perceive that which we have picked up in the form stereotyped for us by our culture. Basically meaning stereotypes tell us what social information is important to perceive and to disregard in our environment. This confirms preexisting stereotypes by paying attention to stereotype consistent information and disregarding information that is inconsistent with our stereotypes. The content of stereotypes is largely determined by the culture in which one lives. After Lippmann, researchers generally began to regard stereotyping as a very negative, lazy way of perceiving social groups. Stereotyping was seen as an outward indicator of irrational, no analytic cognition. An example of rigid thinking. Allport: a stereotype is an exaggerated belief associated with a category. The Social Cognitive Definition In the early 1970s, with the birth of social cognition, researchers came to regard stereotyping as a rather automatic process of categorization that many cognitive and social psychologists believe is inherent in the very nature of the way humans thinking about the world A stereotype is any generalization about a group whether an observer (either a member of the stereotyped group or another observer) believes it is justified or not. Hamilton and Troliers definition of a stereotype as a cognitive structure that contains the perceivers knowledge, believes, and expectations about a human group (TOO BROAD: knowledge, believes, and
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