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Chapter 2

PSYC12 Textbook chapter 2

Course Code
Michael Inzlicht

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Chapter 2: Origin and Maintenance of Stereotypes and Prejudice
Cognitive psychologists found that the human brain seems to almost
automatically classify/categorize similar objects in the environment.
Prejudice researchers to change their conceptualization of the nature of
Stereotypes were no longer regarded as the product of lazy thinking by the
uneducated or those with moral deficiencies.
Stereotypes as a natural consequence of cognition.
Humans have a limited capacity cognitive system that cannot simultaneously
process all the available information in our social environment. Because we
have a need to understand and even anticipate the behaviour of others, humans
have developed ways around our limited cognitive system. Categorization
We also have the tendency to group characteristics with certain shared features.
E.g. blondes have more fun.
Race, gender, age: major ways we first categorize someone because these are
the most immediate and obvious features of an individual, and because these
categorizes yield much information about useful distinctions in social behaviour
between those in different groups. (Basic/Primitive categories)
Basic categories are used often in perceiving people that they are central points
around which stereotypes develop.
In MILLISECONDS, evoke the associated cognitions, beliefs, and feelings one
has for that group.
Others have suggested that stereotypes are not automatically activated for all
Macrae and his colleagues suggest that what the person categorizes a
picture of an individual depends on the perceivers motives, cognitions,
and affect.
Only when the perceiver wants to quickly evaluate the target in the picture
do stereotypes become activated as a useful means of arriving at an
attitude toward the target.
How you partition people in these groups depends on your current, salient
motives, fears, goals, and expectations. PAGE 29
Individuals who are part of an out-group are perceived to share similar
characteristics, motives and other features. However, when it comes to our own

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in-groups, we like to think that our groups comprise unique individuals who
happen to share one or two common features (e.g. ones occupation)
Out-group homogeneity: the belief that members of outgroups are more
similar to each other than are members of ones ingroups (“they all look
In-group bias (favouritism): the tendency to favour, and have positive
affect for, members of ones own group, and to attribute more positive
characteristics to ones ingroups than to outgroups.
Perceiving out-groups as all alike, and our in-group as diverse helps us satisfy
two major goals:
(1) We greatly simplify our social environment by categorizing others in that way
(2) We enhance our self-concept by thinking that we do not belong to a
homogenous, cookie cutter type of group in which all members are similar in
many dimensions.
In favouring our in-groups, we also tend to put down or attribute negative
characteristics to out-groups.
However, research has shown that the assumption that we derogate out-groups
is not necessarily supported.
The dimension on which people are viewed as in-group/out-group members
does not need to be a meaningful one (e.g. racial, political) in order for in-group
and out-group biases to occur.
Minimal groups (not the usual group structure): a group formed on the basis of
some (sometimes trivial) criteria, and which are otherwise devoid of the normal
aspects of group life, e.g. face-to-face interaction, group norms, interactions with
other groups, and a group structure.
We rather implicitly remember positive information about our in-groups and
negative information about our groups. It becomes automatic early in life.
Boldry and Kashy: indicated that out-group homogeneity tends to be strong but
that in-group favouritism is not as universal we thought. Their data suggest that
group status moderates the tendency to engage in in-group favouritism, e.g.
low-status groups tend to show out-group favouritism and high-status groups
showed in-group favouritism only on one of several dimensions. FROM
By age 5 children show distinct recognition of, and preferences for, some
groups over others. (including race and gender preferences)
Allport suggests that there is a definite link between the prejudiced attitudes of
parents and the development of such attitudes in their children.
Allport and Authoritarianism
“Caught from the parentwhen kids observe.
Childhood intergroup Contact

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Results indicated that people who had more interracial contact showed the least
amount of stereotyping and were significantly less prejudiced than those who
were rather isolated from Blacks when they were children.
Collect no data on age of first interracial contact
The questions that make up the index of contact do not really assess
the specific nature of the contact between the respondent and Blacks.
»Is casual contact enough to help children form positive intergroup
attitudes toward Blacks or is it important to have friends,
teachers, etc.
»The questions that make up the index of contact only really
assess the potential for contact, not necessarily actual contact.
Value Transmission in Families
Are some people born prejudiced toward different groups, or is prejudice
Much evidence suggests that racial attitudes are not inborn, and neither is
the case that race does not influence a childs perception of the world until
years later.
Little difference between the racial attitudes of 6th graders and those of
high schools students.
So children clearly learn prejudiced attitudes and stereotypes about
others. BUT WHERE?
Parents and family members / direct learning or “caught
Influence of Stereotypes on Cognition in Children
Majority-group children held more positive attitudes toward their own group and
more negative attitudes toward out-group.
Minority-group members also held more positive views of the majority group
than of even their own in-group
Children from stigmatized groups are aware of stereotypes about their group
from a very young age and that they tend to show effects of the stereotype
threat on stereotype-relevant tasks their anxiety about confirming poor
stereotyping performance on the task impedes their performance.
Stereotypes and Prejudice in the Media
We use the media as a tool to help us decide the pervasiveness and
acceptability of our beliefs and attitudes.
“If it is in the media it must be true.
The frequency of crimes by person of color that were reported on the newscasts
were about 20% higher than what would be predicted based on actual statistics
compiled by the FBI.
Implicit theories: beliefs and heuristics guide ones processing of social
information and help us to evaluate (and sometimes stereotype) others.
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