PSYC12H3 Chapter Notes - Chapter 2: Subcategorization, Authoritarianism, Contact Hypothesis

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Chapter 2 Origin and maintenance of Stereotypes and Prejudice
1. The Formation of Stereotypes
1.1. Categorization
1.1.1. Cognitive psychologists of the 1960s found that the human brain seems to almost
automatically classify or categorize similar objects in the environment
1.1.2. Most psychologists now think of stereotypes as a natural consequence of cognition
1.2. Why We Categorize
1.2.1. The reason people categorize is because we have a limited-capacity cognitive system,
which cannot simultaneously process all available information about the social
environment
1.2.2. Based on Aristotle’s principle of association, we assume that things are similar on the basis
of one feature will likely have other notable similarities on a number of dimensions
1.3. Types of Categorization
1.3.1. Basic categories like age, race, and gender have very strong influences on how the
perceiver interprets most of the other information about the perceived individual
1.3.2. Other researchers believe that seeing and perceiving category words are not the same. I.e.,
when people hear a category word (e.g., Hispanic), we automatically think of stereotypes
for that group. However seeing that person in real life does not bring up as many
stereotypes about the group that the person belongs to
1.4. Ingroups and Outgroups
1.4.1. Ingroups groups to which we belong
1.4.2. Outgroups groups to which we do not belong
1.4.3. During any given environment, people tend to perceive and remember the information in
terms of the most salient categories. E.g., a co-worker jumping up and down in an office
setting
1.4.4. In terms of outgroups and ingroups, we tend to perceive all outgroup members are alike,
and they share similar characteristics, whereas all ingroup members are like snowflakes,
and they are all very unique, except share maybe one or two similarities, such as
occupation
1.4.5. Those who more closely represent the outgroup stereotypes are the representatives of the
outgroup. Those members who do not represent the outgroup very much will be
perceived to be less stereotypical
1.4.5.1. This can affect criminal sentencing Africans that do not look very ‘stereotypical’
tend to receive less sentencing than those who resemble the African stereotypes
1.4.5.2. Outgroup homogeneity the belief that members of outgroups are more similar
to each other than are members of one’s ingroups
1.4.5.3. Ingroup bias any group to which one believes he or she belongs
1.4.6. Outgroup & ingroup bias help to 1) simply social environment by categorizing others 2)
enhance our self-concept by thinking that we do not belong to a homogenous group
1.4.7. Research shows that favouring our ingroups does not always lead to negative stereotypes
of the outgroup
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1.4.8. However, the more an outgroup is seen as homogeneous, the greater the likelihood for
perceivers to use group or stereotype labels to process information about the outgroup
1.4.9. Researches show that being exposed to a stereotyped outgroup can either lead to more
stereotyped or more positive view of the outgroup
1.4.9.1. Specifically, if the outgroup does something negative, the stereotype will be
reinforced
1.4.9.2. However, if members of the outgroup do something positive, the perceiver is
led to be more sympathetic about the group, and open to further interactions
1.4.9.3. Minimal groups groups formed on no meaningful groups. They have none of
the usual features of group structure: a coherent group structure, face-to-face
interaction, a set of norms for the group members, etc
1.4.9.4. When people are put into minimal groups, they exhibit ingroup favouritism or
outgroup homogeneity
1.4.9.5. Research on minimal groups suggest that basis for ingroup favouritism may be
neither a perceived dispositional similarity nor mere arbitrary categorization but the
common fate of one’s group members that seems to be the catalyst for ingroup
favouritism and outgroup homogeneity. I.e., categories facilitate ingroup or outgroup
bias, but it is not the perception that causes this, but rather the fact that
categorization forms groups
1.4.10. Ingroup favouritism is not universal. People of low status tend to have outgroup
favouritism, and people of high status tend to have ingroup favouritism on certain
dimensions
1.5. Social Learning
1.5.1. By age 5, children show distinct recognition of some group over others, including race and
gender preferences
1.5.2. Children of parents who were authoritarian were more likely to develop prejudiced
attitudes
1.5.3. There is a distinction between children who were taught stereotypes and those who
‘caught’ stereotypes in an unhealthy and negative home atmosphere
1.5.4. Childhood Intergroup Contact
1.5.4.1. Researches show that childhood interracial contact is a good predictor of adult
endorsement of outgroup stereotypes and prejudiced attitudes
1.5.4.2. Those with higher exposure to outgroups when they were young were less likely
to be prejudiced toward outgroups
1.5.5. Value Transmission in Families
1.5.5.1. Evidence suggests that racial attitudes are not inborn. Race influences a child’s
perception of the world early on
1.5.5.2. Racial attitudes gradually develop in the first years of life. 3 and 4 year olds
show awareness of racial cues and even show a preference for one race over others
1.5.5.3. Conclusion children learn stereotypes and prejudiced attitudes
1.5.5.4. Parents are a first and powerful source of information about the world, and
children are strongly influenced by the parents’ information
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1.5.5.5. Children directly learn from the parents’ teachings, or they ‘catch’ a family
environment that promotes negative outgroup attitudes
1.5.5.6. Children do not fully comprehend the impacts of stereotypes and cannot
internalize these attitudes
1.5.5.7. Thus, at early stages of life (before 10), children are imitating the sentiments of
their parents
1.5.5.8. The main determining factor on whether the children will have the same
attitudes as their parents depends on ‘Right-Wing Authoritarianism’
1.5.5.8.1. According to this, children of low-RWA parents are very similar to their
parents in attitudes
1.5.5.8.2. Children of high-RWA parents will share similar attitudes to their
parents if the parents were responsive (encouraged discussion, explaining
reasons behind requests)
1.5.5.8.3. Children of high-RWA parents who were not responsive did not seem to
share the attitudes of parents, mainly because there was no incentive to do so
1.5.6. Influence of Stereotypes on Cognition in Children
1.5.6.1. Just as children learn from parents, they also pay attention to overt and covert
messages about intergroup relations they receive from movies, games, magazines
1.5.6.2. ‘if it is in the media, it is true’ – media is used as a tool to help us decide the
pervasiveness and acceptability of our beliefs and attitudes
1.5.6.3. If I frequently watches the media, I might believe that these attitudes represent
the normal, mainstream, views of society
1.5.6.4. A research showed that heavy news readers were more likely to become
uncomfortable to dark-skinned criminals on TV, more likely to remember the
criminal if he was dark-skinned, and more favourable if the victim is dark-skinned
1.5.7. Implicit Theories
1.5.7.1. Implicit theories our individual beliefs about the nature of personality and the
behaviours, attitudes, and values associated with certain types of individuals
1.5.7.2. Entity theorists believe that one’s personality traits are fixed and cannot be
changed
1.5.7.3. Incremental theorists believe that one’s personality traits are flexible and can be
modified
1.5.7.4. Entity theorists tend to believe that because traits are fixed, they are stable
indicators of behaviour. They also believe that behaviour is consistent. These
theorists are more likely to infer a host of related target-personality characteristics
based on an isolated behaviour by the target
1.5.7.5. Incremental theorists are less likely to make that inference, because they are
more cognizant of the belief that behaviour is less predictable just based on one
sample of behaviour
1.6. The Efficiency of Stereotypes
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