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Chapter 11-12

PSYB10H3 Chapter Notes - Chapter 11-12: Symbolic Racism, Ambivalent Sexism, Susan Fiske

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PSYB10 - Chapter 11: Stereotyping, Prejudice, and Discrimination & Chapter #12
Theoretical Perspectives
-Stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination are still all around us.
-The pervasiveness of stereotypes and the persistence of ethnic, religious, and racial animosity
challenge us to understand the underlying causes of intergroup tension
-The causes of each of them are many and varied, and any satisfactory account of these intertwined
phenomena must incorporate numerous elements
-Three perspectives that shed light on these issues:
-The economic perspective identifies the roots of much intergroup hostility in competing
interests that can set groups apart from one another.
-The motivational perspective emphasizes the psychological needs that lead to intergroup
-The cognitive perspective traces the origin of stereotyping to the same cognitive processes
that enable people to categorize, say, items of furniture into distinct classes of chairs,
couches, and tables.
-Note that these three perspectives are exactly that—perspectives, not sharply defined categories
-They’re not competing accounts, but complementary elements of a more complete analysis
Characterizing Intergroup Bias
-Stereotype: The belief that certain attributes are characteristic of members of a particular group.
-Whether valid or not, stereotyping is a way of categorizing people
-It involves thinking about a person not as an individual, but as a member of a group, and
projecting what (you think) you know about the group onto your expectations about that person
-Certain stereotypes have some truth to them and others don’t
-Social Psychologists have focused instead on those stereotypes considered most questionable, and
those most likely to lead to pernicious forms of prejudice and discrimination
-Prejudice: A negative attitude or affective response toward a certain group and its individual
-Discrimination: Unfair treatment of individuals based on their membership in a particular
-Roughly speaking, stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination refer to the belief, attitudinal, and
behavioral components, respectively, of negative intergroup relationships.
-Stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination often go together.
-It’s also possible to be prejudiced and yet not discriminate, particularly when a culture frowns on
-The threat of punishment is intended to keep people’s discriminatory impulses in check.
Modern Racism
-This shift in theoretical approaches is particularly noteworthy with respect to race relations in the
United States. Some have argued that old-fashioned racism has largely disappeared in the United States
but has been supplanted by a subtler, more modern counterpart
-Modern Racism: Prejudice directed at other racial groups that exists alongside the rejection of
explicitly racist beliefs.
-Sam Gaertner and Jack Dovidio have explored the conflicts and inconsistencies that often
accompany modern racism. They note that many people hold strong egalitarian values that lead them to
reject prejudice and discrimination, yet they also harbor unacknowledged negative feelings and
attitudes toward minority groups that stem from ingroup favoritism and a desire to defend the status
quo. Whether these individuals will act in a prejudiced or discriminatory manner depends on the details
of the situation. If the situation offers no justification or “disguise” for discriminatory action, their
responses will conform to their egalitarian values. But if a suitable rationalization is available, the
modern racist’s prejudices will emerge
-In an early test of this idea, participants were in a position to aid a white or black person in need of
medical assistance
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PSYB10 - Chapter 11: Stereotyping, Prejudice, and Discrimination & Chapter #12
-If the participants thought they were the only one who could help, they came to the aid of the
black person somewhat more often (94 percent of the time) than for the white person (81
percent). But when they thought other people were present and their own inaction could be
justified on nonracial grounds (“I thought somebody else with more expertise would intervene”),
they helped the black person much less often than the white person (38 percent versus 75
percent). In situations such as this, the prejudice or discrimination is “masked,” and the individual
remains comfortably unaware of being racist. Thus, modern racism shows itself in subtle ways.
The modern racist would never join the Ku Klux Klan but might consistently give black
passersby a wider berth. Such a person might never utter a racist word, but might insist that “dis
crimination against blacks is no longer a problem in the United States”
-In another telling study, white participants evaluated black and white applicants to college
-Participants whose scores on the Attitudes toward Blacks Scale indicated they were high or low in
explicit prejudice toward blacks rated white and black applicants the same when the applicants
excelled on all pertinent dimensions (SAT scores and high-school grades), or were below average
on all dimensions. But when the applicants excelled on certain dimensions (e.g., high SAT scores)
and were below average on others (e.g., low GPA), the ratings of prejudiced and unprejudiced
participants diverged: the prejudiced participants rated the black applicants less favorably than
did the unprejudiced participants. In these latter cases, prejudiced participants’ discriminatory
responses could be defended as nondiscriminatory—that is, they could be hidden—by claiming
that the dimensions on which the black applicants fell short were more important than those on
which they excelled.
Benevolent Racism and Sexism
-In fact, however, many of our “isms”—racism, sexism, ageism, heterosexism—are ambivalent,
containing both negative and positive features
-In their work on ambivalent sexism, Peter Glick and Susan Fiske interviewed 15,000 men and
women in 19 nations and found that benevolent sexism (a chivalrous ideology marked by
protectiveness and affection toward women who embrace conventional roles) often coexists with
hostile sexism (dislike of nontraditional women and those viewed as usurping men’s power). Glick and
Fiske argue that even these partly positive stereotypes aren’t necessarily benign. Ambivalent sexist or
racist attitudes may be particularly resistant to change. The favorable features of such beliefs enable the
stereotype holder to deny any prejudice. (Think of the trucker who romanticizes women so much he
decorates his mud flaps with their likeness.)
-By rewarding women and minorities for conforming to the status quo, benevolent sexism and racism
inhibit progress toward equality
-Furthermore, benevolent sexism can be as injurious as hostile sexism.
-In one study, for example, women treated in a paternalistic, sexist manner performed less well on
a series of intellectual tests because of the self-doubts aroused by the treatment they received
Measuring Attitudes about Groups
-The most straightforward way to assess how people feel about various groups is, of course, to ask them
-Researchers have developed various attitude scales for this purpose, including the Attitudes toward
Blacks Scale (Brigham, 1993), the Modern Racism Scale (McConahay, Hardee, & Batts, 1981), the
Internal Motivation to Respond without Prejudice Scale (Plant & Devine, 1998), and the Sexual
Prejudice Scale (Chonody, 2013)
-But surveys of people’s attitudes toward certain groups can’t always be trusted because
respondents may not think it’s acceptable to express what they really feel, or because what people
report verbally is only a part of their stance toward members of other groups.
-Given that so many forms of prejudice are ambivalent, uncertain, or hidden—even from the self
—they’re not likely to be revealed through self-report
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PSYB10 - Chapter 11: Stereotyping, Prejudice, and Discrimination & Chapter #12
The Implicit Association Test (IAT)
-Implicit Association Test: A technique for revealing nonconscious attitudes toward different stimuli,
including particular groups.
-Pioneered by Anthony Greenwald and Mazarin Banaji
-They argued that respondents would be faster to press one key for members of a particular group
and words stereotypically associated with that group than to press the same key for members of
that group and words that contradict the stereotype associated with that group.
-A series of words or pictures are presented on a computer screen, and the respondent presses a
key with the left hand if the picture or word conforms to one rule and another key with the right
hand if it conforms to another rule
-It’s easy to respond quickly when the category members and the attributes associated with
the group are signaled with the same hand rather than different hands
-An important question, however, is whether a person’s responses on the IAT are predictive of
behavior that is more significant than pressing computer keys
-Although the test has its critics, here’s evidence that IAT responses do correlate with other
measures of prejudice
-In one study, participants in a brain-imaging machine viewed pictures of black and white
faces. The participants’ earlier IAT responses were significantly correlated with heightened
neural activity in the amygdala (a brain center associated with fear and with emotional
learning) in response to the black faces. Their scores on a more traditional, conscious
measure of prejudice, the Modern Racism Scale, were not correlated with this difference in
neural activity, suggesting that the IAT assessed an important component of attitudes that
participants were unable or unwilling to articulate
-In another study, participants interacted with a white experimenter, took the IAT, and then
interacted with a black experimenter. The participants’ IAT scores, it turns out, predicted the
discrepancy between how much they spoke to the white versus the black experimenter, how
often they smiled at the white versus the black experimenter, and the number of speech
errors and hesitations they exhibited when interacting with the white versus the black
Priming and Implicit Prejudice
-Social psychologists have also measured prejudices that
individuals might not know they have, or that they may
wish to deny, by using a number of priming (mental
activation) procedures
-Priming: The presentation of information designed to
activate a concept (such as a stereotype) and hence make it
accessible. A prime is the stimulus presented to activate the
concept in question.
-The logic is simple.
-If I show you the word butter and then ask you to tell
me, as quickly as you can, whether a subsequent
string of letters is a word, you’ll recognize that bread
is a word more quickly than you’ll recognize that car
is a word because of your preexisting association
between bread and butter.
-An implicit measure of prejudice can thus be derived by
comparing a person’s average reaction time to real and
made-up words preceded by faces of members of the target
category (compared with “control” trials, in which positive
and negative words are preceded by faces of noncategory
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