b32Chapter 1.docx

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22 Apr 2012

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Chapter 1
- Groups are the basic building blocks of society
- Tendency to form groups has withstood time and evolution
- Ingroups: tend to favour their own groups over other groups to which they do not belong
- Even when membership is based on the most arbitrary criteria (random assignment) people tend
to show preferences for members of their own group over those of other groups
- Prejudice: negative feelings about other groups
- Stereotypes: believing that certain characteristics are associated with other groups often
because the outgroup members are perceived to be antithetical to the ingroup’s welfare or values
- Study of prejudice and stereotyping is important because
1) Understand the negative influence such thinking has on the thoughts/feelings/behavior
2) Virtually all wars/battles and other acts of group violence have been driven by some form
of prejudice/stereotyping/discrimination
Ex. Spanish Inquisition, American Civil War, American Slave Trade, Holocaust,
Genocide in Rwanda and Yugoslavia
- Most intense intergroup hostility has been based on a difference in religious beliefs
Ex. Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland
- Although overt expressions of racial prejudice and intergroup hatred have declined dramatically,
racial prejudice/stereotypes have not disappeared
Lippmann’s “Stereotype”
- Stereotype originally derived to describe a printing process
- Lippmann used the word stereotype to describe the tendency of people to think of someone or
something in similar terms having similar attributes based on common feature shared by each
- Stereotypes tell us what social information is important to perceive and to disregard in our
environment this process tend to confirm preexisting stereotypes by paying attention to
stereotype-consistent information and disregarding information that is inconsistent with our
Stereotyping: From Bad to Neutral
- Stereotyping began to be regarded as a very negative, lazy way of perceiving social groups was
seen as an outward indicator of irrational, nonanalytic cognition
- Some regard stereotypes as rigid thinking, an external signal of the stereotyper’s moral
- However, Allport moved away from including evaluative assessments of the goodness of
stereotyping or those who stereotype and defined a stereotype as “an exaggerated belief
associated with a category”
The Social-Cognition Definition
- Brigham defined stereotyping as “a generalization made about a group concerning a trait
attribution, which is considered to be unjustified by an observer” problem with this definition
is that a stereotype is any generalization about a group whether an observer believes it is justified
or not
- Hamiltion and Trolier defined stereotyping as “a cognitive structure that contains the
perceiver’s knowledge, beliefs, and expectations about a human group” problem with this
definition is that it is too broad to capture true meaning because includes world like one’s
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