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PSY220 Chapter 9.docx

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Jennifer Fortune

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Chapter 9: Stereotypes, Prejudice, and Discrimination Prejudice: a negative attitude based toward members of a group based simply on someone belonging to that group Discrimination: negative, harmful behaviour toward people based on their group membership Genocide: an attempt to systematically eliminate an ethnic group through banishment or murder Prejudice and Discrimination Today Blatant, overt discrimination is less common today than 20-30 years ago, although it certainly still exists. Discrimination has been made illegal, and equal access has become mandatory policy for employers in the public and private sectors. Social norms now censure prejudice, and people are less likely to express negative feelings publicly. Some people fool themselves into thinking they are unprejudiced when, in fact, they remain (implicitly) biased against members of disadvantaged groups. Gaertner and Dovidio: “Old-fashioned,” blatant racial discrimination has been replaced by more subtle and ambiguous discrimination. Many majority group members (e.g. White Canadians) have ambivalent, or conflicted, feelings toward minorities (e.g. Aboriginal and Asian Canadians). Aversive racism: a “modern” kind of prejudice held by people who do not consider themselves prejudiced and who would find any accusation of being prejudiced aversive, but who nevertheless harbour some negative beliefs and hostile feelings toward members of minority groups Many majority group members would exhibit discrimination toward minorities when the circumstances made negative treatment justifiable, thereby providing an excuse (perhaps even to themselves) for discrimination. The researchers reported data from two different samples of White Americans – one was obtained in 1989 and the other in 1999. They predicted that the more recent sample would report less blatant prejudice toward Blacks than the earlier sample, but there would be little change over the ten-year period in discriminatory behaviour when the circumstances provided an excuse. In their study, when the black and white candidates‟ qualifications were strong, both were equally as likely to be recommended the job. When the qualifications of both were ambiguous, the white applicants were recommended over the black applicants. Stereotypes: Cognitive Sources of Prejudice and Discrimination One major contribution of soc. psych. to understanding prejudice has been to identify common cog. processes that can establish/maintain prejudice. The key element in the cog. view of prejudice is stereotypes – individuals‟ beliefs that members of a group share particular attributes. Stereotypes qualify as one kind of schema – namely, schemas that represent human groups. Schemas allow us to sort objects into categories, to make assumptions about those objects, and thereby to impose meaning and predictability on our environment (“going beyond the information given”). Stereotypes “efficiently” provide us with info about target persons that can guide behaviour; they allow us to make rapid inferences about target persons. Two Costs of Stereotypes: Oversimplification and Negativity We may assume too much uniformity/similarity within groups, nationalities, genders, and occupations (outgroup homogeneity effect). Fact is that, in contrast to categories of inanimate objects/plants, categories of humans tend not to be uniform/predictable. Stereotypes of large groups are oversimplified and, when applied to a particular individual, often inaccurate. Stereotypes are often unfavourable in tone – i.e. they contain negative traits. Why? 1) Stereotypes may refer to groups that are believed to be competing with the perceiver‟s group for desired resources (realistic conflict theory from the lecture). 2) Being in a bad mood leads perceivers to interpret their stereotypes of some minorities more negatively. 3) People may be unfamiliar with members of the targeted group and feel anxious/uncomfortable when interacting with them; they may label their anxiety as dislike for the group. Stereotypes Distort Information Processing Humans are not open and unbiased processors of info related to stereotypes. Stereotypes (like other schemas) guide attention and interpretation in such a way as to increase the probability that perceivers‟ expectancies will be confirmed.  Stereotypes Guide Attention o Stereotypes can distort info processing…  By affecting what perceivers notice about members of the stereotyped group  Generally perceivers are sensitive to and looking for information that confirms the stereotype.  By biasing attention  In Bodenhausen‟s study, the stereotype of Hispanic men increased participants‟ attention to the evidence supporting a guilty verdict.  Stereotypes Guide Interpretation o Stereotypes can distort info processing…  By affecting how perceivers interpret the behaviour of people in the group  Actions that are ambiguous will tend to be interpreted as consistent with expectations. The Potential Vicious Cycle of Stereotypes  Self-Fulfilling Prophecies o A process in which a perceiver‟s expectancy about a target person influences the perceiver‟s behaviour toward the target person in such a way as to elicit the expected actions from the target person o The perceiver has acted in such a way as to make his/her own prophecy come true. o Stereotypes can produce expectancies about a target individual, which can then alter the perceiver‟s actions in ways that elicit the expected behaviour from the target. o Given that stereotypes of minority groups can be unfavourable, self-fulfilling prophecies may often be damaging and harmful. o If targets are aware of someone‟s expectancy for them, they may work to disprove it, especially when it is negative. o But in many cases, targets are unaware that perceivers have strong expectancies for them, which makes self-fulfilling prophecies more likely. o People sometimes “choke” when trying to disprove a negative stereotype about their group (stereotype threat). Do Stereotypes Influence Our Perceptions If We Disagree with Them? Subliminal priming procedure: a method of activating a schema/stereotype by flashing words or pictures very briefly on a computer screen in front of a participant It turns out that ptcs do perceive such stimuli subconsciously, and concepts related to the words/pictures become activated in memory.  Implicit Intergroup Bias o Distorted judgements about members of a group based on a stereotype, which can occur without the person‟s awareness o Similar to negative implicit attitudes toward a group o Everyone may show some implicit intergroup bias, even those who disagree with a common stereotype. o Some research suggests, however, that unprejudiced individuals actually seek out info to disconfirm common stereotypes and, therefore, do not show an implicit intergroup bias. o There is also evidence that people who exhibit weak or no implicit intergroup bias also tend to behave in other positive ways toward the target group. o Further, there is evidence that implicit intergroup bias can be reduced by deliberate attempts to be open-minded. Meta-Stereotypes Meta-stereotype: a person‟s beliefs about the stereotype that outgroup members hold concerning his or her own group Meta-stereotypes influence people‟s expectations about their interactions with members of the outgroup – people who believe that their group is viewed negatively by an outgroup tend to anticipate unpleasant interactions with members of that group. Emotional Sources of Prejudice and Discrimination Negative attitudes toward specific groups sometimes spring from other, noncognitive sources. Emotional/motivational processes that can contribute to prejudice and discrimination: 1) Prejudice sometimes results from negative emotions such as frustration, anger, and hostility. 2) Prejudice may also sometimes satisfy basic motives such as the need to evaluate the self positively. Frustration and Prejudice: Scapegoat Theory Scapegoat theory: prejudice involves dominant group‟s “lashing out” at subordinate groups because of frustration and disappointment; members of the disadvantaged group serve merely as scapegoats – they had little/no direct role in causing the frustration, but provide a convenient target to blame Perceived Competition and Prejudice: Realistic Group Conflict Theory Realistic group conflict theory: when groups in society are believed to be competing with one another for such things as jobs, housing, political power, and health care, hostility can be aroused and can, in turn, lead to prejudice Sometimes groups perceive not only competition for scarce resources from members of outgroup, but also threats to important values. People may believe that members of another group (e.g. Pakistani immigrants to Canada) bring with them a set of values and customs that threaten the status quo (symbolic, rather than economic, competition). Self-Enhancement Motivation: Social Identity Theory A third affect-related factor in prejudice involves potential positive emotional benefit of derogating outgroups: feeling good about the self, or self-enhancement. One way to judge the self positively is in relative terms: “I am better than you” and also “My group is better than your group” – feeling superior to another person/group can be gratifying because it indirectly confirms one‟s own worth. Researchers have found that when people‟s ingroup performs better than an outgroup, they report higher self-esteem and more positive judgements of their own abilities. A Unifying Model: Integrated Threat Theory Integrated threat theory: negative attitudes toward an outgroup can result from four different kinds of threats – realistic threats, symbolic threats, threats stemming from intergroup anxiety, and threats arising from negative stereotypes The term „threats‟ refers to the fact that prejudiced people expect members of the disliked outgroup to behave in ways that are detrimental to ingroup members. These “detrimental” actions may include taking jobs away from ingroup members, challenging the ingroup‟s fundamental values, or simply making ingroup members feel uncomfortable during interactions. 1) Realistic threats: those emphasized by realistic group conflict theory – competition for scarce resources 2) Symbolic threats: perceived threats to the ingroup‟s important attitudes, beliefs, and values 3) Threats from intergroup anxiety: arise when people feel uncertain and anxious about interacting with members of the outgroup 4) Threats from negative stereotypes: occur when people believe that members of the outgroup possess undesirable characteristics that may lead to detrimental actions toward the ingroup One compelling aspect of the theory is that it can be applied equally well to understanding either the attitudes of the majority group toward minority groups or the attitudes of minority groups toward the majority group. Emotional Source Relevant Theory Description Example Frustration Scapegoat theory People vent their Gay bashing: Looking frustrations from daily for gay men to beat up life by lashing out simply because it gets against members of rid of feelings of weak minority groups frustration and stress Perceived competition Realistic group conflict People dislike members Disliking immigrants theory of a group who are because they are thought to be competing believed to take jobs for scarce resources away from native-born such as jobs or land workers Self-enhancement Social identity theory People form negative Laughing at the unusual impressions of members customs or beliefs of a of an outgroup in order minority religious group to make their own group in order to make the seem superior majority religious view seem superior Threats Integrated threat theory People dislike members Avoiding contact with of a group who are disabled people because competing for scarce interactions are resources, hold different awkward and anxiety- attitudes and values, provoking arouse anxiety, or are believes to possess undesirable characteristics Sexism: Prejudice and Discrimination Against Women Sexism: prejudice and discrimination directed against women because of their gender The problem is not so much that men dislike women, but rather that men do not always treat women as their equals. Sexism Today Neosexism: a modern and more subtle form of sexism, which includes beliefs that women are no longer disadvantaged, together with antagonism toward women‟s demands for special treatment Men‟s scores on the neosexism scale correlated with their attitudes toward affirmative action programs that give preferential treatment to women, such that neosexists were more opposed to such programs. The researchers hypothesized that neosexist beliefs arise when men think that their own interests are best served by a hierarchical system in which men have more power than women. Ambivalent sexism inventory: a measure of stereotyped attitude toward women, which composed of two dimensions – one positive and one negative – benevolent sexism and hostile sexism Benevolent sexism: positive but paternalistic attitudes toward women Hostile sexism: negative attitudes toward women who violate the traditional stereotype of women Gender Stereotypes The traditional view of men is that they are strong, aggressive, dominant, independent, and mathematical, whereas the traditional view of women is that they are warm, compassionate, indecisive, emotional, and verbally skilled. Gender stereotypes mirror the division of roles between men and women in society and can make it difficult for women to achieve positions of power and status.  Origins of Gender Stereotypes o One important factor is parental socialization: boys and girls are often raised differently.  Parenting patterns teach boys to be self-confident and girls to be nurturant and also lead children to expect similar characteristics in other boys and girls. o Religious institutions also contribute to gender stereotypes.  There is some evidence than stronger religious beliefs are correlated with greater endorsement of stereotypical gender roles. o Mass media causes stereotypical portrayal or men and women in television shows and movies. o It is also likely that distorted interpretations and self-fulfilling prophecies serve to strengthen gender stereotypes.  People may interpret a man‟s request for help as as
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