PSYC12H3 Chapter Notes - Chapter 9: Contact Hypothesis, Realistic Conflict Theory, Ingroups And Outgroups

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Published on 20 Mar 2013
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Chapter 9 Reducing Prejudice
1. The Contact Hypothesis
1.1. People fear the unknown, i.e., the outgroups
1.2. The remedy for this fear is to eliminate the fear of the unknown by having the groups get to know each other
1.3. Encourage more contact between the groups
1.4. Contact hypothesis proposes that increasing exposure to members of various groups can increase positive
evaluations of the outgroup and decrease prejudice and stereotyping
1.5. Allport’s Contact Hypothesis
1.5.1. His idea that when we put people of different groups together, they naturally work it out and get to know
one another
1.5.2. However researches have shown that mere contact is ineffective in changing racial attitudes
1.5.3. Upon viewing the member of the outgroup, stereotypes and negative affect are elicited even prior to the
interaction
1.5.4. The stereotype filters the perception of the interaction in ways that confirm the stereotypes about the
outgroup; the causal contact has left matters worse than before
1.5.5. Research indicate that in many situations of mere contact, roughly 50% of the interactants felt more
positive about the outgroup, but the other 50% of the time people felt more negative toward the outgroup
1.5.6. Allport recognized that a whole host of factors affect the intergroup-contact context and influence
whether participants emerge from the situation with more positive or more negative attitudes toward the
outgroup
1.5.7. Allport specified that at least four fundamental criteria must be met for positive intergroup contact to
occur:
1.5.7.1. Equal-status members
1.5.7.2. Common goals
1.5.7.3. Intergroup cooperation
1.5.7.4. Support of legitimate authority
1.5.8. Two more variables offered by other researches
1.5.8.1. There must be a favorable climate for intergroup contact
1.5.8.2. The contact must be of an intimate rather than a casual nature
1.5.8.3. Also, Pettigrew adds another factor: the contact situation have “friendship potential”
1.6. Tests of the Contact Hypothesis
1.6.1. When whites and blacks were brought into contact in the work arena, each group reported more positive
feelings about the other
1.6.2. In desegregated public housing, equal-status contact between white and African American neighbours
resulted in much more favorable attitudes of the white individuals toward equal-housing policies
1.6.3. African Americans in a desegregated housing project had more positive attitudes toward their white
neighbours than did their segregated African American counterparts
1.6.4. Research on prejudiced white women which got into contacts with black women on a daily basis showed
significant positive change in racial attitudes toward African Americans
1.6.5. A key point of confusion among some researchers about the contact hypothesis is between the essential
factors and facilitative factors
1.6.6. Pettigrew highlights two other problems with the contact hypothesis research
1.6.6.1. Research tends to focus on when and why contact will result in positive intergroup attitudes,
but it does not speak to how this change in attitudes occurs in the contact situation
1.6.6.2. Contact hypothesis does not specify how positive feelings toward an outgroup member in the
contact situation can generalize to one’s feelings for the whole outgroup
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1.7. Pettigrew’s Reformulated Contact Theory
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2. Sherif’s Robber’s Cave Study: The Superordinate Goal
2.1. Realistic conflict theory when two groups compete for scarce resources, prejudice and stereotypes between
the two groups will result
2.1.1. When groups are in conflict, they think of the outgroup in stereotyped ways, and they begin to feel
hostility toward the outgroup
2.1.2. In Sherif’s Robber’s Cave study Sherif had two groups of boys at a summer camp compete for a scarce
resource. Prejudice erupted between the groups. Sherif then shifted the experiment to attempt to reduce
prejudice. Sherif then reasoned that if intergroup competition increased prejudice, perhaps cooperation
between groups would reduce or eliminate prejudice
2.1.3. Superordinate goal problems that the groups could work on together, in that no group could remedy the
situation alone
2.2. Sherif showed that prejudice and outgroup hostility can be caused by competition, but can be greatly reduced
via intergroup cooperation on a superordinate goal
2.3. Common Ingroup Identity
2.3.1. There is great evidence that support the idea that prejudice can be reduced through encouragement of
superordinate ingroup identities
2.3.2. This is done by breaking down the salience of the groups’ category membership and by getting the groups
to reconceptualise themselves as all members of a larger ingroup identity
2.3.3. When testing for the common ingroup identity model, Dovidio found that when people in 2 minimal
groups felt more positive affect (e.g., receiving candy), and when groups were made to feel less distinct
(e.g., through clothing), they were more likely to view their own group and other group as members of one
large group with shared goals
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