PSYC215 Chapter 12 Notes
Prejudice: A negative prejudgment of a group and its individual members.
Stereotype: A belief about the personal attributes of a group of people. Stereotypes can be
overgeneralized, inaccurate, and resistant to new information.
Discrimination: Unjustifiable negative behaviour toward a group or its members.
Racism: (1) An individual’s prejudicial attitudes and discriminatory behaviour toward people of a given
race, or (2) institutional practices (even if not motivated by prejudice) that subordinate people of a given
Sexism: (1) An individual’s prejudicial attitudes and discriminatory behaviour toward people of a given
sex, or (2) institutional practices (even if not motivated by prejudice) that subordinate people of a given
Gender Role: A set of behaviour expectations (norms) for males and females.
Social Dominance Orientation: A motivation to have one’s group be dominant over other social groups.
Ethnocentric: Believing in the superiority of one’s own ethnic and cultural group, and having a
corresponding disdain for all other groups.
Realistic Group Conflict Theory: The theory that prejudice arises from competition between groups for
Social Identity: The “we” aspect of our self-concept; the part of our answer to “Who am I?” that comes
from our group.
Ingroup: “us”-a group of people who share a sense of belonging, a feeling of common identity.
Outgroup: “them”-a group that people perceive as distinctively different from or apart from their
Ingroup Bias: The tendency to favour one’s own group.
Just-world Phenomenon: The tendency of people to believe that the world is just and that people
therefore get what they deserve and deserve what they got.
Outgroup Homogeneity Effect: Perception of outgroup members as more similar to one another than
are ingroup members. Thus “they are alike; we are diverse.”
Own-race Bias: The tendency for people to more accurately recognize faces of their own race.
Illusory Correlation: A false impression that two variables correlate
Fundamental Attribution Error:
Group-serving Bias: Explaining away outgroup members’ positive behaviours; also attributing negative
behaviours to their dispositions (while excusing such behaviour by one’s own group).
Subtyping: Accommodating groups of individuals who deviate from one’s stereotype by thinking of
them as a special category of people with different properties.
Subgrouping: Accommodating groups of individuals who deviate from one’s stereotype by forming a
new stereotype about this subset of the group.
Stereotype Threat: A disruptive concern, when acing a negative stereotype, that one will be evaluated
based on a negative stereotype. Unlike self-fulfilling prophecies that hammer one’s reputation into
one’s self-concept, stereotype threat situations have immediate effects.
Chapter Notes: Some prejudice definitions include positive prejudgment as well, but nearly all uses of
“prejudice” refer to negative tendencies-or what Gordon Allport termed, “an antipathy based
upon a faulty and inflexible generalization”.
Prejudice is an attitude, which is a distinct combination of feelings, inclinations to act, and
ABCs of attitudes: affect (feelings), behaviour tendency (inclination to act), and cognition
(beliefs). A prejudiced person might dislike those different from self and behave in a
discriminatory manner, believing them ignorant and dangerous.
Negative evaluations that mark prejudice stem from emotional associations, from the need to
justify behaviour, or from negative beliefs, called stereotypes.
Stereotypes “may be positive or negative, accurate or inaccurate.” An accurate stereotype may
even be desirable. We call it “sensitivity to diversity or cultural awareness in a multicultural
Prejudice is a negative attitude; discrimination is a negative behaviour. Discriminatory behaviour
often, but not always, has its source in prejudicial attitudes.
Prejudice attitudes need not breed hostile acts, nor does all oppression spring from prejudice.
If word-of-mouth hiring practices in an all-male business have the effect of excluding potential
female employees, the practice could be called sexist-even if an employer intended no
National surveys suggest that outright prejudice is less common then it was 30 years ago. While
overt expression of prejudice has decreased, subtle forms of prejudice are still widespread.
In France, Britain, Germany, Australia, and the Netherlands, subtle prejudice (exaggerating
ethnic differences, feeling less admiration and affection for immigrant minorities, rejecting them
for supposedly non-racial reasons) is replacing blatant prejudice.
Some researchers call subtle prejudice “modern racism” or “cultural racism”.
Dual attitude system: We can have differing explicit (conscious) and implicit (automatic)
attitudes toward the same target.
Although explicit attitudes may change dramatically with education, implicit attitudes may
linger, changing only as we form new habits through practice.
Different brain regions are involved in automatic and overt stereotyping. Pictures of out-groups
that elicit the most disgust (such as drug addicts and the homeless0 elicit more amygdala than
frontal cortex activity.
Automatic prejudices involve primitive regions of the brain associated with fear, such as the
amygdala, whereas overt prejudice is more closely associated with the frontal cortex, which
enables conscious thinking.
Strong gender stereotypes exist, and members of the stereotyped group accept the stereotypes.
Men and women agree that you can judge a book by its sexual cover.
Newer research reveals that behaviours associated with leadership are perceived less favourably
when enacted by a woman. Assertiveness can seem less becoming in a woman than in a man
(making it harder for women to become and succeed as leaders).
The average man and woman do differ somewhat in social connectedness, empathy, social
power, aggressiveness, and sexual initiative (though not in intelligence).
Stereotypes (beliefs) are not prejudices (attitudes) Stereotypes may support prejudice. Yet
without prejudice, men and women are “different, yet equal”.
Most people like women more than men. They perceive women as more understanding, kind,
and helpful. The historic mark of oppression-self-deprecation-surfaced clearly: Women were prejudiced
Overt prejudice against people of colour and against women is far less common today than it
was four decades ago. The same is true of prejudice against gays and lesbians. Nevertheless,
techniques that are sensitive to subtle prejudice still detect widespread bias.
Principle to remember: Unequal status breeds prejudice. Stereotypes rationalize unequal status.
We see other groups as competent or as likeable, but usually not as both. We respect the
competence of those high in status and like those who agreeably accept a lower status.
In times of conflict, attitudes adjust easily to behaviour. People often view enemies as
subhuman and depersonalize them with labels. Attitudes are amazingly adaptable. Cruel acts
breed cruel attitudes.
By seeing strengths and weaknesses in all group differences and positive and negative outcomes
for all groups that differences in power and opportunities are glossed over and allow people to
see the social system in a positive light.
The desire to be on top of the hierarchy leads people high in social dominance to embrace
prejudice and to support political positions that justify prejudice.
Status may breed prejudice, but some people seek it out and try to maintain this status more
Theodor Adorno and his colleagues discovered that hostility toward Jews often coexisted with
hostility toward other minorities. Prejudice appeared to be less an attitude specific to one group
than a way of thinking about those who are different.
The insecurity of authoritarian children seemed to predispose them toward an excessive
concern with power and status and an inflexible right-wrong way of thinking that made
ambiguity difficult to tolerate. They tend to be submissive to those with power over them and
aggressive or punitive toward those beneath them.
People high in social dominance orientation and authoritarian personalities are not surprisingly,
“among the most prejudiced persons in our society.”
Authoritarianism appears more related to concern with security and control, whereas social
dominance orientation appears more related to one’s group status.
High social dominance orientation leaders who had high authoritarian followers were more
likely than any other combination to throw ethics out the window in the blind pursuit of profit.
In almost every country, leaders invoke religion to sanctify the present order. The use of religion
to support injustice helps explain a consistent pair of findings concerning Christianity, (1) Church
members express more racial prejudice than non-members, and (2) those professing traditional
or fundamentalist Christian beliefs express more prejudice than those professing less traditional
Prejudice follows conformity via inertia. People will follow the path of least resistance and
conform to the fashion. They will act not so much out of a need to hate as out of a need to be
liked and accepted.
Prejudice may be bred by social situations, but motivation underlies both the hostilities of
prejudice and the desire to be unbiased. Frustration can feed prejudice, as can the desire to see
one’s group as superior, and the desire to see the world as just. But at times, people are also
motivated to avoid prejudice.