Chapter 11 – Stereotype, Prejudice, and Discrimination
A stereotype is a belief that associates a whole group of people with a certain trait.
Prejudice – is hostile or negative feelings about people based in their membership in a certain
Discrimination – is behaviour directed against people solely because of their membership in a
Explicit self-esteem – is self-esteem that one has expressed about oneself.
Implicit self-esteem – is one’s evaluation of oneself that may exist largely outside of one’s
Children often form their attitudes about people in different groups by watching (and
listening) to their parents. If a child hears a parent express negative attitudes about
people who hold different religious beliefs from their own, the child is likely to form
negative beliefs about the people in this group.
We often look to others for guidance in forming our attitudes and behaviour.
Social learning is one explanation for why people are often willing to express certain
types of prejudice, but not others.
Believing that other people agree with our stereotypes also increases the strength and
accessibility of these stereotypes, and thereby makes them more resistant to change.
Ideological ideas should be tailored to particular individuals to increase the effectiveness
of such messages.
Social categorization – is the practice of classifying people into in-groups or out-groups based on
attributes that the person has in common with the in-group or out-group.
The out-group homogeneity effect is people’s general tendency to see out group members as
very similar to one another, while seeing member of their in-group as more diverse.
Example: we may see students who attend a different school as a single group of very similar
People hold such different beliefs about in-group versus out-group members because we
typically have less exposure to and familiarity with people in the out-group than those in
our in group. Cross-ethnic identification bias – is the tendency to see out-group members as looking very
similar to one another, and showing greater accuracy for recognizing in-group members than out-
One explanation for this occurrence is that people engage in deeper processing when
seeing a person from the same ethnicity than someone from a different ethnicity.
Another factor could be familiarity.
In-group favouritism – is the tendency to evaluate one’s in-group more positively than out-
Example: jurors give shorter sentences to those in the same ethnic group as themselves who are
accused of crimes.
People are also more confident in the judgement of their in-group.
One factor that contributes to in-group favouritism is self-interest: we’re motivated to
favour those in our in-group because those people are more likely to favour us in return.
This preference is acquired early in life and remains fairly stable.
In-group favouritism is also more likely when people heavily identify with the group, and
when group norms are salient.
Social dominance orientation – is a personality trait that indicates preference to maintain
hierarchy within and between groups.
People who are high in social dominance orientation are more likely to engage in-group
favouritism, in part because those who want to maintain the superior position of their
own in-group are particularly motivated to derogate out-group members and reward in-
group members as a way of maintaining that superiority.
Those who believe that their own group should be dominant over other groups are more
prejudiced against people in lower-status groups.
Illusory correlation – is the tendency to overestimate the association between variables that are
only slightly or not at all correlated.
Behaviours committed by members of small groups or groups that are distinctive receive
more attention and are more memorable than the same behaviours committed by
members of common groups.
Homosexuality and child molestation are more distinctive behaviours therefore people
often see them as going together more frequently than they actually do. Ultimate attribution error – is an error in which people make dispositional attributions for
negative behaviour and situational attributions for positive behaviour by outgroup members, yet
shown the reverse attributions for successes and failures for their in-group members.
We do this because these attributions help us feel safe in an often unpredictable world.
Thinking this way can lead to scapegoating and blaming the victim in a situation.
People perceive stimuli that are different expectations as more different than they actually
Example: if you expect that women will be passive and gentle, when you encounter a woman
who is assertive and strong she may seem especially tough and aggressive.
Example: if you believe that football players are dumb, when you encounter one who gets an A
on an exam, you may see him as even smarter than another student with the same grade.
Shifting standards model – is a model that posits that people within a group are more often
compared to others within that group rather than to people in other groups.
Example: a woman may be described as a great athlete because her skills are better than those of
most other women even if these skills are only average compared to men’s abilities.
Perceptual confirmation – is the tendency to see things in line with one’s expectations.
Perceptual confirmation occurs in part because we interpret ambiguous information as
supporting our stereotypes, and thereby see the same behaviour in a very different way
depending on our expectations.
Confirmation bias – is the tendency to search for information that supports one’s initial view.
People may ask questions that are designed to confirm their expectations.
We ignore information that disputes our expectations.
We’re more likely to remember (and repeat) stereotype-consistent information and to
forget or ignore stereotype-inconsistent information, which is one way stereotypes are
Self-Report Measures – used to examine people’s attitudes, beliefs and behaviours. The Modern
Racism Scale, the Homosexuality Scale and Modern Sexism Scale are all measures of prejudice.
These are problematic for testing something so sensitive like prejudice. This causes misreports. Covert Measures – these are indirect methods of assessing beliefs and behaviours of prejudice
1. The Bogus Pipeline is a fake lie-detector test. Being told that they are being assessed for
their true beliefs; people are more likely to tell the truth to avoid uncomfortably being
detected that they are lying.
2. The Implicit Association Test (IAT) – based on the assumption that it is easier – and
therefore faster – to make the same response to concepts that are strongly associated with
each other than to concepts that are weakly associated.
To seek, create and interpret information that verifies our own beliefs.
People’s expectations about other people can lead them to engage in behaviours that elicit
behaviour that supports these expectations.
If you’re interested in someone, your expectation that that person will or will not return
your interest can affect the outcome. People who expect acceptance have a tendency to
be warmer toward the person of interest, which can lead to acceptance and vice versa.
Stereotype threat – is the fear that one’s behaviour may confirm an existing cultural stereotype,
which then disrupts one’s performance.
This apprehension interferes with their ability to perform well, and thus leads them to
confirm the negative stereotype about their group.
Example: if a woman is told that she’s about to take a test on spatial reasoning that woman
typically do poorly on, that awareness may make her nervous and thus lead her to do less well on
When minorities are in a threatening environment, their performance