Chapter One: Introduction to the Study of Stereotyping and Prejudice

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Published on 23 May 2011
School
UTSC
Department
Psychology
Course
PSYC12H3
C12: Prejudice
Chapter One: Introduction to the Study of Stereotyping and Prejudice
Membership in a group can be restricted on the basis of special skills, family relations, gender, power, and a host of
other factors.
Through specialization of skills and the order within the society imposed by the power certain groups are given
over the larger society (eg government), people found that they could live longer, happier, and more fulfilling lives
than if people were each to fend for themselves or only for their own group.
Some researchers theorize that the tendency to form groups is such a basic part of the nature of animals, including
humans, and has conveyed survival benefits so successfully that it has (e.g. fighting off predators, raising offspring
successfully) withstood time and evolution.
Disadvantages and complications that group life brings:
oMate competition
oMate retention
oTend to form closer ties to members of their ingroup over outgroups to which they do not belong
this forms the basis for negative feels about other groups (prejudice, stereotypes)
Some believe that prejudice and stereotyping are no longer a problem in the US, however, while it is the case that
overt expressions of racial prejudice and intergroup hatred have declined dramatically, they have by no means
disappeared.
DEFINING STEREOTYPING
Lippmanns “Stereotype
The word stereotype originally derives from a term to describe a printing process in which fixed casts of material
are reproduced.
When journalist Walter Lipmann used the word stereotype to describe the tendency of people to think of
someone/something in similar terms – that is, as having similar attributes – based on a common feature shared by
eat.
opictures in our heads
ohe wrote,we pick out what our culture has already defined for us, and we tend to perceive that
which we have picked out in the form stereotyped for us by out culture.”
Stereotyping: From Bad to Neutral
Researchers soon began to regard stereotyping as a very negative, lazy way of perceiving social groups; in other
words, stereotyping was seen as an outward indicator of irrational, nonanalytic cognition.
Allport defined a stereotype by writing thata stereotype is an exaggerated belief associated with a category”
oOther researchers presaged the social-cognition revolution movement in social psychology in that
they argued that stereotyping ought to be examined as a normal psychological process.
The Social Cognitive Definition
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In the 1970s, researchers came to regard stereotyping as a rather automatic process of categorization that many
cognitive and social psychologists believe.
oBrigham defined stereotyping asa generalization made about a…group concerning a trait
attribution, which is considered to be unjustified by an observer”
However there is a problem with the past part of the definition. A stereotype is any
generalization about a group whether an observer believes it is justified or not.
oHamilton and Troiler’s definition isa cognitive structure that contains he perceiver’s
knowledge, beliefs and expectations about a human group.”
This definition is too broad, it sounds more like the definition for a schema,
which is a cognitive structure that represents knowledge about a concept or type of stimulus,
including its attributes and the relations among those attributes
o*** Ashmore and Del Boca define it asa set of beliefs about the personal attributes
of a group of people”
This definition is more consistent with the essence of many past definitions
because it restricts the meaning of stereotype to a generalization about a group or people.
This book uses this definition^^^
Cultural and Individual Stereotypes
It is important to differentiate between cultural and individual stereotypes
A cultural stereotype describesshored or community wide patters of beliefs
An individual stereotype describes the beliefs held by an individual about the characteristics if a
group.
It is suggested that adjective rating scales tend to assess cultural stereotypes; any other measure are restricted to the
stereotype content choices offered by the measure tends to provide an inaccurate measure of the person’s stereotype
of the group.
This is important because one’s cultural stereotype about a group may not be the same as one’s
individual stereotype about the group.
The question is, which of these two – cultural or individual stereotypes – tends to predict future behaviour and
attitudes toward a given group?
Lippman suggested thatwe tend to perceive that which we have picked out in the form of
stereotyped for us by our culture.
Contemporary researchers tend to be interested primarily in assessing individual stereotypes
because many experiments have been demonstrated that these are most directly related to that person’s
specific thoughts, feelings, and behaviour toward the group.
Is Stereotype an Attitude?
Some researchers believe that a stereotype is similar to an attitude.
Attitude- is a general evaluation of some object, it is usually viewed as falling somewhere on a
good-bad, or favorable-unfavourable dimension.
Researchers have traditionally viewed attitudes as comprising three componenets: a behavioural component, an
effective component, and a cognitive component.
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Document Summary

Chapter one: introduction to the study of stereotyping and prejudice. Membership in a group can be restricted on the basis of special skills, family relations, gender, power, and a host of other factors. Some believe that prejudice and stereotyping are no longer a problem in the us, however, while it is the case that overt expressions of racial prejudice and intergroup hatred have declined dramatically, they have by no means disappeared. The word stereotype originally derives from a term to describe a printing process in which fixed casts of material are reproduced. Researchers soon began to regard stereotyping as a very negative, lazy way of perceiving social groups; in other words, stereotyping was seen as an outward indicator of irrational, nonanalytic cognition. However there is a problem with the past part of the definition. A stereotype is any generalization about a group whether an observer believes it is justified or not. o.