PSYC12: Psychology of Prejudice
Lecture 3: Maintenance of Stereotypes
Maintenance of stereotypes
Origin of Stereotypes: Socio-cultural & Motivational
Maintenance of Stereotypes: Cognitive
The same things that keep stereotypes going could be the reason for its origin.
Cognitive: Saves energy, save our mind; mental shortcut. Cognitive can help us to extend.
o Perceptual & behavioral: We don't see the world as it is but we see it as we r therefore stereotypes
can be seen by the way we see things.
o Motivational: Stereotypes feels good therefore makes us feel good about ourselves.
o Video: Is about Hannah who had to be viewed as black man when she was convicted, therefore
representation of bias.
Racists for Obama (True Story)
Nov. 3, 2008 | Sean Quinn, of the polling site FiveThirtyEight, respected for its obsessiveness and eerie
prescience, recently posted a hair-raising story about a pair of Barack Obama supporters. Quinn seems
ready to verify its source, but only after the election. At any rate, it goes like this: A man canvassing for
Obama in western Pennsylvania asks a housewife which candidate she intends to vote for. She yells to her
husband to find out. From the interior of the house, he calls back, "We're voting for the nigger!" At which
point the housewife turns to the canvasser and calmly repeats her husband's declaration.
o A racist person voted for Obama
Re-fence stereotype-disconfirming individuals
o By having a subtype, you can dislike the group but like certain members in the group (e.g. Michael
Jordan is my favourite basketball player, but I don't like black groups as a whole)
Allows for maintenance of stereotypes & prejudice
Allows people to feel non-prejudiced
o May not feel prejudiced because they like for e.g., certain black people (Bill Cosby or Michael
Jordan), so this indicates that they're not racist
Don Sheri, supporter of hockey and known to be a racist towards European players and Canadian players
from the French side. He is known also to be a nationalist. He says I am not racist but yet says racist things
towards groups. He claims that he has friends who r black and French. He claims he has friends.
Prince: Reminder of a movie about a scene where the pizza shop owner lives in black neighborhood but
yet shows cues of being racist. He likes black actors and musicians how is that possible? The reason being
is because he sees that actors and musicians r different from regular blacks. He therefore categorize the
blacks in his mind and disconfirming people even though they r of the same race.
*Applying stereotypes can save cognitive resources* ... it can help me not to think thoroughly about things Macrae, Milne, & Bodenhausen, 1994
Humans have developed cognitive “tools” allowing us to analyze social environment efficiently
o To be able to get through the environment, we use physical and mental tools. Therefore
stereotype is a mental tool to make our life easier and help us get through life.
Stereotypes are one of these “tools:”
1. They allow us to forego effortful individuation
2. They make useful predictions (kernel of truth)
3. When taxed, people use stereotypes (used when busy; shortcut)
Are stereotypes energy-saving devices? Yes, when people are busy, they use it as a mental shortcut.
Macrae, Milne, & Bodenhausen, 1994
Participants performed two tasks simultaneously (two tasks at once)
Task 1—Impression formation:
o Name followed by 10 trait terms (given one at a time)
e.g. Nigel: aggressive, smart, likes leather, etc. and asked to remember this
o Half given a stereotypic label (e.g. doctor, artist, skinhead). Half given no label.
e.g. Nigel: skinhead, artist, etc.
o Half of the traits were stereotypic, half neutral
Task 2—Information Monitoring
o Ps heard a 2 minute passage on Indonesia
Dependent Variable: Recall of traits with appropriate targets; performance on multiple-choice test on
Study 1—results 4
Results confirmed predictions:
Stereotypes improved recall
For stereotypic and neutral items 2
Improved MC performance
Graph # 1 Stereotype No Stereotype
Nigel: skinhead, likes leather, etc.
Mary is a doctor 2.5
Stereotypical label 2
Better able to remember the traits that 1.5
Graph # 2 Neutral Recall
They remember the neutral traits: Nigel is
smart, Mary likes the colour pink 0
Stereotype No Stereotype
They remember a category label
Graph # 3 10
Performance on multiple-choice test on
passage was better if they recalled 8
Save cognitive resources and focus on
something else (remember the passage)
Improves MC MC Performance
Stereotype No Stereotype Who is this?
Male, homeless, old, White, photogenic, grumpy
The way we answer depends on what we're like
o The world appears not so much as it is, but as we are. (nature of our beliefs)
Bruner & Goodman, 1947
Study # 1:
They had children estimate several disks
by size and color. Then pennies were used.
Despite these disks being the same size
they found that people are more accurate
when disks were presented but when
coins were presented they saw the size of
the coins bigger. Therefore people put
value on these objects that’s why they see
it bigger. The kind of ideas we see in our
heads can physically change what we
Children estimate the size of diff disks
Disks of various diameters
Some disks were grey
Some exact size of disk was same size of
Despite these disks being the same size
When these grey disks, people were less
accurate of these disks
When disks were actual coins, they were bigger than they actually were
Bigger value of coin, the bigger it was
Quarter was 45% bigger than its actual size
Given values to these given coins
The more value they have the bigger we actually see of the coin in terms of physical size
Bruner & Goodman, 1947
Study # 2:
Kids who are 10 yrs old looking at
coins and asked about their size. They
break down was rich kids with poor
kids. If money is important in your life
u see the coins larger.
Only looking at coins between rich
and poor kids if money is meaningful
to you, you see it as larger in size
Same thing happens with people
relates to confirmation bias Confirmation Bias (perception)
Stereotypes bias information in confirmatory manner
o Confirming info more fully processed
o Ambiguous info seen as stereotype confirming
So if I encounter something in my environment that is consistent with what I believe in, I'm very likely to
And I may look at ambiguous things, as consistent with my info as well
Man in the photo, he is smiling or angry
If we encounter someone like this, we may assume it's an angry face rather than a smiling face
Can prejudice bias perceptions of facial emotion?
o Can it change how we perceive face?
Hugenberg & Bodenhausen, 2003: Study
Prejudice can actually change in the way we see facial expression? Yes.
A black face and lighter face
Presented these faces one by one
These faces slowly start changing; expression go from happiness to anger
In the study they asked the participants to press the button when the face changes, and they showed one
face at a time
Hugenberg & Bodenhausen, 2003: Results
Prejudiced White Ss saw anger (stereotyped behavior) appear more quickly on the face of Blacks
o Those who are high in prejudice, saw the black face get angrier faster than the lighter face even
though they are exactly the same.
o Same results if the faces went from angry to happy anger lasted longer on the black face than on a
o The result of the st