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Chapter 2

CMN 3104 Chapter Notes - Chapter 2: Ultimate Attribution Error, Ingroups And Outgroups, Media Studies


Department
Communication
Course Code
CMN 3104
Professor
Dina Salha
Chapter
2

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Chapter 2
Media Effects
2.1 THE SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY OF STEREOTYPES: IMPLICATIONS FOR
MEDIA AUDIENCES
Race seems to affect how we interpret media, especially in subtle ways.
THE SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY OF STEREOTYPES
It is imp to realize at the outset that stereotypes aren’t simply something
that only bigots have experience with.
Research has shown that when asked to list the traits defining the cultural
stereotypes of Blacks, both high- and low-prejudiced people come up with
essentially the same list.
Its only when asked to list their personal beliefs about Blacks that we see a
difference.
!High-prejudiced people tend to list the same traits they listed for
the cultural stereotype.
!Low-prejudiced respondents tend to list other, more positive traits.
However, the cultural stereotype seems to play an imp role in how we
process info about people from various groups regardless of whether we
endorse it.
Stereotype: a cognitive structure that contains the perceiver’s knowledge,
beliefs, and expectancies about some human group.
Stereotypes are structures in our minds, and as such, they function in much
the same way as other structures in our minds do.
Psychologists call these cognitive structures schema and believe that
schema help simplify a complex social environment by quickly and efficiently
processing incoming stimuli based on the presence of a few relevant
characteristics.
Schemas help us categorize the world by telling us the basic characteristics
of the things we encounter.
This allows us to make judgments about our environment without having to
expend much mental effort.
A stereotype, then, is a schema for people we perceive as belonging
to a social group.
Schemas help structure not only our knowledge of things but also our
expectations.
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Because they tell us what characteristics the category usually contains,
schemas lead us to expect certain things once other traits of a category have
been encountered.
When we encounter someone of a particular social group, whether based on
gender, race, ethnicity, etc., the schema we have for that group tells us
what features of traits we should expect to encounter.
This expectation that we should see additional features associated with a
schema once any features of the schema are encountered is called priming.
A prime concept is thought to be more accessible to our consciousness.
Because we expect them, primed concepts can influence how we perceive
subsequent information.
!Because we’re looking for the primed concepts, we’re more likely to
perceive incoming stimuli as containing the traits and features our
schema have taught us to expect.
In this way, priming tends to alter our interpretations of things
towards what fits (in congruent with) our schema.
Stereotypes, then, are schema that help organize our knowledge and beliefs
about social groups.
They also structure our expectations and influence how we perceive
incoming messages.
Devine thought that because stereotypes are so pervasive (universal) in the
media and in our everyday interactions with others, they become very well
learned.
!So well learned that when we encounter someone of a particular
social group, the stereotype for that group is primed and
automatically activated and influences subsequent cognitive
processing (the interpretation of the situation).
Devine also found that there were imp differences between knowledge of the
stereotype and endorsement of it, and between high- and low-prejudiced
individuals.
Both high- and low-prejudiced people have the schema for stereotype of e.g.
Blacks, but it appears that only highly prejudiced individuals endorse it. Low-
prejudiced individuals actively try to suppress it.
Stereotypes of various social groups can be activated automatically, and
they can influence how we interpret incoming information.
Stereotypes can activate and influence processing even when people don’t
endorse them.
However, people can try to work around stereotypes once they’ve been
activated.
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