PSYC 215 Chapter Notes - Chapter 13: Realistic Conflict Theory, Self Esteem (Song), Scapegoating
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Chapter 13: Prejudice and Intergroup Relations
ABCs of Intergroup Relationships: Prejudice, Discrimination and Stereotypes
Prejudice is a negative attitude or feeling towards an individual based solely on that
individual’s membership in a certain group. It illustrates racism, which is prejudiced
attitudes towards a certain race. Today racism is more subtle than it was, and it takes the
form of aversive racism, which is simultaneously holding egalitarian values and negative
(aversive or unpleasant) feelings towards minorities. Prejudice often leads to
discrimination, which is the unequal treatment of different people based on the groups or
categories to which they belong. Stereotypes are beliefs that associate groups of people
with certain traits. These are difficult to change, because people tend to throw exceptions to
the rule into a separate category, called a subtype.
ABCs = the Affective component is prejudice, the Behavioural component is discrimination,
and the Cognitive component is stereotyping.
Categorizations allows us to more easily make sense of the world. Social categorization is
the process of sorting people into groups on the basis of characteristics they have in
common (eg: race, gender, age, religion, sexual orientation).
A big difference in sorting people and things is the level of emotional involvement: when
sorting people into heterosexual, bisexual or homosexual, for example, you belong to one
category so you feel emotionally attached to it. But someone sorting fruits into apples and
oranges would not feel the same way. Outgroup members are people who belong to a
different group or category than we do. Ingroup members are people who belong to the
same group or category as we do. Most people assume that outgroup members are more
similar to each other than ingroup members are. This is a false assumption known as the
outgroup homogeneity bias. People even see people of outgroups as looking the same!
When it comes to witnesses, you can identify ingroup members better than outgroup
members. But when it comes to angry outgroup members, then they are easier to identify.
This is because it is important to keep track of dangerous people. The bias is easily
explained by the fact that we do not have as much exposure to outgroup members as we do
to ingroup members.
Common Prejudices and Targets
Most come from external characteristics that are readily visible.
The most widely discussed prejudices are racism, followed by sexism.
Arabs and Muslims:
o Prejudice and discrimination has increased since September 11th.
o Bushman and Bonacci experiment:
Participants were given a questionnaire to assess their bias against
Arabs and Muslims. Then they were “accidentally” sent an email
either addressed to an Arab or to an English person. The email either
said that the person won a scholarship and had to respond in 48
hours, or did not win one.
Those who had a bias against arabs were 12% less likely to
forward the email to the right person if the intended
recipient was arab, as long as the email said that the student
had won the scholarship.
Those who had a bias against arabs were 19% more likely to
return to lost email to an arab if the email said they did not
win the scholarship.
Those with no biases returned the emails with no bias.
o Research has shown that the more people watch the news, the more
prejudiced they are about Arabs and Muslims.
People who are overweight:
o Many people openly admit and act upon their prejudice against obese
o Stigma by association: there is a negative stigma, for example, on someone
sitting beside an obese person. This is the rejection of those who associate
with stigmatized others.
o Anti-gay prejudices are very strong, even if being gay is not something that
o This is also a prejudice that people are more likely to openly admit to.
o Homophobia: excessive fear of gay people or gay behaviour.
o Angry prejudice:
An experiment shows that homophobics administered shocks more
freely to a homosexual than to a heterosexual, especially after being
made to watch a homosexual erotic tape.
o Homosexual prejudices are more common among men than women, even
though men are more likely to be homosexual or to take part in homosexual
acts. Men are women are also more intolerant of homosexual behaviour in
their own gender.
Stigmas: characteristics of individuals that are considered socially unacceptable
(overweight, mentally ill, sickness, poverty, physical blemishes).
1. Prejudice is to discrimination as ______ is to _______.
a. Affect, behaviour
b. Affect, cognition
c. Cognition, affect
d. Cognition, behaviour
2. Becca is a store clerk. While she is shopping at another store in her day off she runs
into a very rude store clerk and a very rude executive. Becca will probably conclude
a. Most store clerks and managers tend to be rude
b. Most store clerks but not necessarily managers tend to be rude
c. Most managers but not necessarily store clerks tend to be rude
d. Neither most store clerks nor most managers tend to be rude
3. The second leading cause of preventable death in the USA is ____.
b. Diet and activity level
d. Toxic Agents
4. Compared to nonhomophobics, homophobics are _____ aggressive toward
homosexual targets and are _____ aggressive toward heterosexual targets.
a. More, less
b. More, equally
c. Less, less
d. More, more
Why Prejudice Exists
One theory is that is comes from culture/learned through socialization. However some may
also be natural, and we must exert effort to override them. Prejudices are also found all over
Ingroup favouritism is the preferential treatment of, or more favourable attitudes
towards, people in one’s own group. Tajfel wanted to do an experiment where he started at
an arbitrary group with no prejudices and worked his way up, adding differences to see
when the favourisim started. However he could never establish such a group. Even if groups
were assigned as “red” or “blue” by coin toss, favouritism still occurred. This is called the
minimal group effect, where even in the absence of pragmatic benefit or personal
relationship you have a bias for your own group.
Us vs. Them: Groups in Competition
Creating hostility between two groups is much easier than stopping it (therefore
people are predisposed to develop negative feelings towards outgroups).
Superordinate goals: goals that can be achieved only be cooperating and working
Realistic conflict theory: provides an explanation of prejudice in which
competition over scarce resources leads to intergroup hostility and conflict.
o Competition: people can attain their goals only if others do not
o Cooperation: people must work together with others to help all achieve
When we see prejudice as doing positive, favourable deeds for members of one’s
own group, it is easier to see how this could be favoured in evolution and become
part of human nature.