Why do we categorize people: we have limited resources
Primitive categories: Gender, Age, and race
In groups and out groups: In groups is a “we”
Category and stereotype development:
Mental representations of minority group members
Illusory correlation: an erroneous influence about the relationship between 2 categories
People overestimate the frequency of co-occurrence of distinctive events
E.g. overestimate a minority group that have hostile behaviour. If they are a minority,
then chances of them being hostile are NOT very high. However they stick out to you.
Thus if a minority group member does something hostile, then you overestimate the
number of times they engage in hostile behaviour.
1. Hamilton and Gifford:
Project 39 separate sentences and the participants have the read each one of them.
26 sentences describe people from group A and 13 sentences of sentences describe
people from group B. Group B is the minority group. The ratio of desirable:
undesirable sentence are the same between the 2 groups and both has more
Then people did a memory test in which they were asked to write down which group
did what behaviour.
Results: They remember the number of desirable and undesirable number of traits
in group A but they UNDERESTIMTATE the number of desirable number of traits and
OVERESTIMATE the number of undesirable number of traits in group B.
Illusory correlation Minorities undesirable traits stand out more.
Results: They also told the participants the groups’ number of behaviours. How
many were undesirable? They both overestimate the negative and underestimate
the positive of group B.
Results: The participants were then asked to rate the traits of the 2 groups. They
rated Group A good social traits as more than Group B, they rated Group B bad
social traits as more than Group A. They also rated Group A as good intellectual
more than group b and rated Group B as bad intellectual more than group A.
Conclusion: Does not take much to form illusory correlation which then forms the
basis of stereotypes.
2. Macrae, Milne and Bodenhausen:
Stereotypes make encoding information easier?
Dual Task Paradigm: Do 2 tasks simultaneously.
Task 1: Impression formation. People would see name and trait of individual. They
would also label name, trait and a label (skinhead). Some traits are stereotype
consistent information whilst others are neutral (lucky).
Task 2: hearing a passage about Indonesia. Participants would be asked to remember traits of John.
Results: When label was present, then participants remember more information
about the target, and in particular information which was consistent with the
stereotypes of the labels. Then label was absent, and they did not remember as
many traits. Neutral traits were remembered in similar amounts in both presence of
label and absence of label and similar amounts of stereotype and neutral traits were
remembered in absence of label. When label was present, they also did better on
the knowledge test about Indonesia.
Conclusion: stereotypes do make encoding information easier.
3. Maas et. Al
Linguistic Intergroup Bias
Linguistic Category Model: when we perceive the behaviours of others, we have a
huge selection of words available
Descriptive action Verb: A is choking B, a single observable event, very specific.
Physically invariant feature.
Interpretive Action Verb: A is hurting B, a more abstract verb. Still describing the
behaviour but now we take away the physical component of it. Hurt can also be
State Verb: A hates B, even more abstract than interpretive action verb.
Psychological state implies a more permanent state, not just one event.
Adjectives: A is aggressive; we are talking about the person. Providing a
generalisation for someone. Describe their personality. The most permanent.
Hypothesis: we would choose different words for in groups and out groups. For out
groups we would use adjectives and state verbs for negative behaviour. For out
groups we use descriptive action verb for positive behaviour, that the positive
behaviour is not permanent. The reverse is true for in groups. We tend to think that
the positive behaviour is permanent, and thus use adjectives and state verbs. WE
tend to think that the negative behaviour is temporary and situational. WE tend to
view our in group more favourably Linguistic Intergroup Bias.
Procedure: Presented 16 cartoon characters to members form 2 rival groups. The
cartoon character can be from in group or out group and they either have desirable
or undesirable behaviour. The participants were asked to choose best description of
scene and there were the 4 answers to choose from.
People tend to use more abstract verbs to describe their in group’s positive
behaviour than the out groups positive behaviour. People tend to use more
concrete verbs to describe their group’s negative behaviour than the out group’s
Our own in group’s has permanent positive traits and temporary negative traits. The
reverse is true for out groups.
4. Fiske and Neuberg:
The continuum model a) Initial categoriza