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PSYC12- CH 2 notes

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Michael Inzlicht

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Chapter 2: Origin and maintenance of Stereotypes and Prejudice
The Formation of Stereotypes
othe human brain seems to automatically classify or categorize similar objects in the environment
oStereotypes were no longer regarded as the product of lazy thinking by the uneducated or those with
moral deficiencies
oStereotypes is now a natural consequence of cognition
Why we categorize
othe reason is that humans have a limited capacity cognitive system that cannot simultaneously process
all the available information in our social environment
owe have a need to understand and anticipate the behaviour of others, humans have developed ways
around our limited cognitive system by categorization
ocategorize on the basis of shared features or even shared time and space
owe assume that things that are similar on the basis of one feature or because they occur together will
likely have other notable similarities on a number of dimension (Aristotles principle)
Types of Categorization
oUsually Race, Gender, and age (Basic Categorizes/ Primitive categories)
Because they are obvious and immediate feature of an individual, and because these
categories yield much information about useful distinction in social behaviour between those in
different groups
Strong influences on how the perceiver interprets most of the other information about the
perceived individual
* upon perceiving category words, we automatically think of associated stereotypes for that
category, yet when seeing a member of one of these groups, we do not automatically think of all
the stereotypes for the groups to which the person belongs to
othe way the person categorizes a picture of an individual depends on the perceivers motives,
cognition's, and affect.
In groups and Out groups
ohow does the dynamics of groups and how the attitudes, motivation, and cognition of individuals
change as a function of their membership in a group
oIn groups: group in which we belong (we are all different as snowflakes)
can be numerous
oOut groups: group in which we dont belong (are all alike)

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oPeople who are part of an outgroup are perceived to share similar characteristics, motives, and other
features. in our in groups, we like to think that our groups comprise unique individuals who happen to
share one or two common features
oOnes perception can effect ones salient groups on perception and memory for social information. For
example, when participants were exposed to a discussion group of African Americans and Caucasian,
participants were generally accurate at recalling the race of the person who made a particular comment
but were less accurate at specifying the particular individual who made the statement (People tended to
perceive and remember the information in terms of race categories, and not in terms of the individual
oOut group homogeneity
oIn group bias (favouritism)
oTwo major goals:
we greatly simplify our social environment by categorizing others
we enhance our self concept by thinking that we do not belong to a homogeneous, cookie cutter
type of group in which all members similar in many dimension
oWe attribute great individuality and a host of other positive attributes to our ingroup members
oIn favouring our group, we also tend to put down or attribute negative characteristics to out groups.
oIn group Vs. Out group
Participants’ reaction times to positive person descriptors were fast when preceded by a priming
word thta denotes ones in group (us, we, our)
reaction time were slower to negative person descriptors when preceded by those in group
* in group word primes one to recognize positive information about ones groups and inhibits or
impairs ones recognition of negative information pertaining to ones in group
when participants were presented with out group priming words (they, them), their reaction
times to negative person descriptors was not facilitated. think about out groups does not
necessarily lead one to be prone to readily process and accept negative information
oExposure to members of a stereotyped out group can lead to either a more homogeneous (more
stereotype) or heterogeneous (more positive) view of the out group
when out group member does something bad, ones stereotypes of the outgroup will be
reinforced and the interaction reduced the likelihood that the perceiver will wish to interact
further with the group. the perceivers evaluation of the group becomes more negative
positive encounters with members of the stereotyped group tend to lead perceivers to show
more sympathetic beliefs about the group and be open to further interactions with that out group
oThe dimension on which people are viewed as in group or out group does not need to be a meaningful
one in order for in group and out group bias to occur
oMinimal groups: groups that have no meaningful basis for their membership. they exhibit the same in
group favoritism found in more meaningful in groups
these groups have none of the usual feature of group structure
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