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PSYC12H3 Study Guide - Midterm Guide: Cognitive Load, Semantic Differential, Social Dominance Orientation

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Michael Inzlicht
Study Guide

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Psychology of Prejudice MT 1
Chapter One:
Ingroup: any group to which one belongs.
Outgroup: any group to which one doesn’t belong.
Minimal groups: group formed on arbitrary or random criteria (e.g., random assignment).
Prejudice: a biased evaluation (positive or negative) of a group based on real or imagined
characteristics of the group members.
Stereotype: a set of beliefs about the personal attitudes of a group of people.
Intergroup hostility: an irrational basis for disliking others simply because they belong to another group.
Schema: a hierarchically organized, cognitive structure that represents knowledge about a concept or
type of stimulus, and its attributes and the relations between those attributes.
Cultural stereotype: consensually or widely shared beliefs about a group.
Individual stereotype: the beliefs held by an individual about the characteristics of a group.
Attitude: a general evaluation of some object.
o This evaluation usually falls along a good-bad or favourable-unfavourable dimension.
o Three components of the intergroup attitude:
Behavioral ( discrimination)
Affective (prejudice)
Cognitive ( stereotypes)
Discrimination: any negative behavior toward someone based on their membership in a group.
Positive stereotypes: beliefs that attribute desirable or positive characteristics to a group.
Self-categorization theory: states that people view themselves as a member of a social category or
Appraisal: a set of cognitions that are attached to a specific emotion.
Subtyping: the process whereby a new category is created to accommodate stereotype-inconsistent
members of a group about which one holds negative stereotypes.
o How we react to any given outgroup member depends on:
What self-category is salient for us at that moment
In what context the interaction occurs
How that person helps or hinders our movement toward salient personal or group goals
at that time
Balance theory: one’s attitudes, behavior, and evaluation (and affect) toward another person should be
cognitively consistent, or else one experiences a state of “imbalance”, which is an aversive state of
“cognitive arousal.
o Beliefs (stereotypes) about a group are consistent with one’s attitudes (or prejudice) towards
the group.
Motivation-reinforcement theory: suggests that the prevalence of prejudice and stereotyping is
attributable to the need for social approval and self-esteem.
o Thorndike’s’ Law of Effect: any behavior that is followed by a positive event will be more likely
to be performed again in the future.
Frustration-aggression theory: frustration leads to aggression, and a special type of aggression is
feelings of prejudice toward other.
Realistic-conflict theory: states that prejudice and stereotyping arise from the competition between
groups for scarce, valued resources.
Cognitive-dissonance theory: suggests that people are motivated to maintain consistent cognitions and
that the lack of cognitive consistency leads to an aversive physiological sate (dissonance).
o The dissonance will cause the person to change their attitudes and behavior toward the
Attribution theory: stereotyping and prejudice emerge as a result of cognitive processes that lead
people to disproportionately suspect negative motivation or causes of the behavior of outgroup
o E.g., having your foot stepped on in an empty elevator vs. a crowded elevator.
It is unlikely you’d react the same way (getting mad) in the second situation.
Categorization: helps reduce the complexity of stimuli in social environments.
o Basic (or primitive) categories: categories into which people are grouped rather automatically
upon perception.
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These categories are race, gender, and age.
The cognitive-miser model: people overwhelmingly embrace efficiency rather than accuracy in their
perceptions of the social world.
o Heavily emphasizes the role of cognition and doesn’t include other factors, such as affect or
Cognitive-motivational approach: categorization elicits the need to view one’s ingroups positively
relative to one’s outgroups.
o The social perceiver may sometimes think about the target individual in a considered manner in
order to enhance accuracy, and sometimes they may elect to consider the other persons in a
heuristic fashion, to maximize speed to enhance one’s self-esteem.
Motivation: the impetus to do some behavior (or avoid doing some behavior), and to keep doing it in
order to meet one’s goals.
o Motivation plays an important role in social cognition, and in outgroup perception specifically.
o People can be motivated to inhibit the activation of a stereotype when they believe it will
hinder their personal goals or social interactions.
Chapter Two:
Humans have a limited-capacity cognitive system that can’t simultaneously process all the available
information in our social environment.
o Humans have developed ways around our limited cognitive system; one of the best ways is
The basis for categorizing people can be very logical or quite illogical.
Outgroup homogeneity: the belief that members of outgroups are more similar to each other than are
members of one’s ingroups (“they all look alike”).
Ingroup bias (or favouritism): the tendency to favour, and have positive affect for, members of one’s
own group, and to attribute more positive characteristics to one’s ingroups than to outgroups.
o Favouring our ingroups does not necessarily mean that we also must dislike outgroups.
Minimal groups: a group formed on the basis of some (sometimes trivial) criteria, and which are
otherwise devoid of the normal aspects of group life such as face-to-face interaction, group norms,
interactions with other groups, and a group structure.
o Even when people are arbitrarily assigned to a group they display intergroup favouritism or
outgroup homogeneity.
Allport (1954) supported the idea that children of parents who are authoritarian were more likely to
develop prejudiced attitudes.
o Argued the distinction between the teaching and the development of stereotyped attitudes and
o Suggests prejudice was not taught by the parent, but was caught by the child from an infected
Implicit theories: our individual beliefs about the nature of personality and the behaviors, attitudes,
and values associated with certain types of individuals.
o Entity theorists: personality traits are fixed and cannot be changed.
Traits are stable indicators of behavior.
Behavior is consistent.
More likely to infer a host of related target-personality characteristics based on an
isolated behavior by the target.
o Incremental theorists: one’s personality traits are flexible and can be modified.
Behavior is less predictable.
Subcategories: separate categories for the deviant individual.
o Stereotypes have a basic hierarchical structure.
Information about the group initially tends to be stored in terms of superordinate
abstract stereotypes that apply to all group members.
When stereotype-discrepant information confronts us, we form subcategories.
The stereotype-inconsistent member of the stereotyped group is seen as
unrepresentative of the whole group.
o Enable us to maintain our stereotypes for the group in the face of stereotype-disconfirming
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o It is likely that deviant group members will represent positive qualities and characteristics not
typically associated with the outgroup.
o When an individual is seen as representative of a group and shows stereotype-inconsistent
characteristics, people will be more likely to modify their stereotypes about that group, to
perceive more variability among group members.
o When the perceived individual is not seen as representative of the group, it is easier for the
perceiver to regard that person as a deviant.
Illusory correlations: the overestimation of the association between two variables that are either
related weakly or not at all.
o Can lead to the formation and maintenance of stereotypes.
Motivation: processes that energize and direct behavior toward a goal.
Social-identity theory (SIT): states that the need for positive self-esteem motivates individuals to
perceive people in the environment in terms of ingroups and outgroups.
o Suggests that people can attain positive self-esteem either by their own accomplishments or by
affiliating with high-status groups.
o Because people naturally partition their social environment into “Us” and “Them,” people are
motivated to perceive their own groups as superior to other groups on important, valued
o One way to increase one’s positive feelings about one’s ingroup is to derogate outgroups.
o Another way we maintain the perceived high status of our groups is by derogating deviant or
stereotype-confirming ingroup members, or others that reflect poorly on the ingroup, in an
effort to maintain the status of one’s ingroup.
Optimal distinctiveness theory (ODT): suggests that our social motives are governed by an alternating
tension between our need to be our own unique person and our need to belong to groups.
o We are motivated to find and affiliate with groups that provide a balance between these
opposing needs.
o Exclusive groups are so valued because they tend to provide just the right balance between
uniqueness and belongingness.
o If one’s social identity is strongly salient, there is an increased tendency to evaluate out-groups
in terms of shared ingroup stereotypes about the outgroups.
o When the need for uniqueness is strong, people will value membership in minority groups more
than membership in a majority group.
Scapegoat theory: postulates that when an individual becomes thwarted from a particular goal, they
may feel anger, irritation, or disappointment.
o That anger is similar to the negative affect we feel toward disliked outgroups, and eventually,
the outgroup is blamed for the ingroup’s failure to attain their goal, and the ingroup feels
prejudice toward the outgroup.
o Problems:
When people are frustrated they are no less and no more prejudiced toward disliked
outgroups than they are toward other, liked groups.
Can’t explain the choice of targets.
Relative deprivation theory: states that when groups perceive that they are at a disadvantage, relative
to an outgroup, in their attainment of important group goals, the group that feels disadvantaged or
deprived will feel prejudice and resentment toward the other group.
o Feelings of prejudice and hostility toward outgroups arise out of a feeling of relative deprivation
with regard to that outgroup in terms of an important goal.
o Egoistic relative deprivation: situation in which an individual compares their life to that of other
Appears unrelated to negative outgroup evaluations.
o Fraternal relative deprivation: a comparison of how one’s ingroup fares relative to an outgroup
with regard to a desired goal.
Strongly related to negative outgroup perceptions.
Realistic-conflict theory (RCT): states that when groups are competing for scarce resources, prejudice
and hostility between the groups will result.
Contact hypothesis: the prediction that intergroup prejudice will diminish or be eliminated when the
two groups are brought into contact with one another.
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