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Chapter 10

PSYC12H3 Chapter Notes - Chapter 10: Agreeableness, Cognitive Revolution, Social Dominance Orientation


Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSYC12H3
Professor
Nick Hobson
Chapter
10

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Chapter 10 Individual Differences
INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCES
- Individuals differ in the extent to which they have prejudiced attitudes, such as racism or sexism.
- People differ in how dispositionally prejudiced they are
- Dispositional roots of prejudice include personality traits, such as authoritarianism; cognitive
biases, such as inflexible thinking; and socio-political ideologies, such as conservatism or a desire
for group hierarchy.
BRIEF HISTORY
- Why are some people higher in generalized prejudice than others?
- Authoritarians are thought to have overly strict parents and to hold rigid regard for conventions.
- Authoritariansprejudice was thought to result from a projection of unacceptable impulses (e.g.,
fear, sex) onto powerless outgroup members.
- Allport (1954) wrote of the prejudiced personality,’ which is characterized by a threat
orientation, moralistic values, punitive attitudes, bifurcated thinking, need for definiteness
and social order, and a preference for authority and hierarchy.
- In the 1960s and 70s, researchers departed from an individual difference approach for
understanding the roots of prejudice to socio-cultural factors, such as group interests
- Then, with the cognitive revolution in psychology and investigations of the minimal group
paradigm, investigations of stereotypes and categorizations dominated those of prejudice
- An exception to this trend, in the 1980s, was the aforementioned work on contemporary forms
of prejudice, such as symbolic racism, aversive racism, and ambivalent racism
- These models all share the assumption that people’s expression of prejudice depends on the
strength of suppression factors, such as egalitarianism (Crandall & Eshleman, 2005). Measures
of contemporary prejudice were shown to predict opposition toward racial policies, such as
busing and affirmative action (Sears & Henry, 2005; McConahay, 1986). Thus, individual
differences in prejudice were still a significant social issue (Duckitt, 1992). However, this
research did not test the bases of individual differences in contemporary prejudice. Work on
cognitive processes and stereotyping led to investigations of prejudice and how it is related to
individual differences in styles of thinking. The higher people are in their need for cognitive
closure, rigidity (Webster & Kruglanski, 1994), need for simple structure, personal need for
structure (Neuberg & Newsom, 1993), preference for consistency (Cialdini, Trost, & Newsom,
1995), and intolerance of ambiguity (Budner, 1962); or the lower their need for cognition
(Cacioppo & Petty, 1982), or cognitive complexity (Webster & Kruglanski, 1994), the more they
tend to express explicit prejudice and tend to stereotype outgroup members (Rokeach, 1948;
Schaller, Boyd, Yohannes, et al., 1995; Stangor & Thompson, 2002). This style of thinking,
marked by rigidity and a desire for simplicity and certainty, can be described as cognitive
conservatism. Interestingly, cognitive conservatism is not only related to participants’ explicit
prejudice, but it is also related to prejudice levels assessed with implicit measures (Cunningham,
Nezlek, & Banaji, 2004). Starting in the 1980s, research on the bases of individual differences in
prejudice was revived by work on right-wing authoritarianism (RWA) (Altemeyer, 1981, 1998).
RWA is a refined conceptualization and measurement of authoritarianism that involves:
authoritarian submission or a tendency to defer to those considered to be legitimate authority

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figures, authoritarian aggression (i.e., holding punitive attitudes toward those labeled
wrongdoers by authorities), and conventionalism or adherence to the norms that authorities
establish (Altemeyer, 1981). RWApredicts explicit prejudice toward ethnic minorities, women,
disabled people, deviants, and in particular gays (Duckitt, 2006; Lippa & Arad, 1999; Peterson,
Doty, & Winter, 1993; Whitely, 1999). Alone RWA significantly predicts implicit prejudice toward
Blacks (Rowatt & Franklin, 2004) but not gays (Rowatt, Tsang, Kelly, et al., 2006) or Muslims
(Rowatt, Franklin, & Cotton, 2005). When aggregated with other measures of ideology, RWA
predicts implicit prejudice toward gays, Jews, and the poor (Cunningham, Nezlek,&Banaji, 2004).
Hence, the evidence forRWAto predict implicit prejudice is mixed. In the 1990s, work on
individual differences received further attention due to the introduction of social dominance
theory (Sidanius and Pratto, 1999). Social dominance orientation (SDO) is the degree to which
people oppose equality and believe that society should be hierarchically structured, with some
groups having higher status than others (Pratto, Sidanius, Stallworth, et al., 1994). There is a
great deal of evidence that people higher in SDO are more sexist, racist (e.g., toward Blacks,
Aboriginals, Indians, Arabs, Asians), and prejudiced toward immigrants, lesbians, gay men,
feminists, housewives, and physically disabled people (e.g., Altemeyer, 1998; Duckitt, 2001,
2006; Duckitt,Wagner, du Plessis, et al., 2002; Lippa & Arad, 1999; Pratto, Sidnius, Stallworth, et
al., 1994; Van Hiel & Mervielde, 2002; Whitley, 1999). To date, there is no evidence that, under
normal conditions, SDO predicts implicit prejudice toward outgroups (Pratto& Shih, 2000;
Rowatt, Franklin, & Cotton, 2005). SDO might predict explicit, but not implicit, prejudice if SDO
guides people’s attitudes in a deliberative manner based on propositional reasoning (i.e.,
consistency with other beliefs; Gawronski & Bodenhausen, 2006). Remarkably, it has recently
been discovered that SDO and RWA together account for up to 50 per cent of the variance in
people’s level of explicit prejudice toward a variety of outgroups (Altemeyer, 1998; McFarland &
Adelson, 1996). McFarland and Adelson (1996) found that SDO and RWA accounted for the bulk
of individual differences in people’s generalized prejudice (i.e., prejudice toward a variety of
groups). The only predictors to account for additional variance in generalized prejudice were
participants’ gender and levels of empathy. In general, the relation between SDO and RWA is
positive but weak, particularly in North American samples (Duckitt, 2001). Together, SDO and
RWA are powerful predictors because they each uniquely account for prejudice (e.g., Altemeyer,
1998; Duckitt, Wagner, du Plessis, et al., 2002). Altemeyer (2004) examined those cases where
individuals scored high (i.e., in the top quartile) in both SDO and RWA. These ‘double highs’
were significantly more prejudiced toward a variety of ethnic groups, compared with other
study participants. In the last couple of decades, due to theoretical and methodological
advances in studying personality (i.e., the Big Five), research on the link between personality
and the susceptibility of being prejudiced has re-emerged. People who are lower in the big five-
personality factor of agreeableness (Ekehammar, Akrami, Gylje, et al., 2004; Graziano, Bruce,
Tobin, et al., 2007), and its facet tender-mindedness (Duckitt, 2001; Ekehammar&Akrami, 2007),
tend to be more prejudiced; as do people lower in empathy for others (Bäckström and
Björklund, 2007; Stephan & Finlay, 1999) and in warmth (Ekehammar & Akrami, 2007).1 In
addition, people who are lower in the big five personality factor of openness to experience; and
its facets, openness to re-examining values and openness to one’s feelings, tend to be more
prejudiced (Ekehammar & Akrami, 2003). Finally, people have studied religiosity as a basis of
prejudice. The more people hold fundamentalist religious beliefs, the more they tend to be
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explicitly prejudiced (Altemeyer, 1996; Altemeyer & Hunsberger, 1992), and implicitly
prejudiced (Rowatt & Franklin, 2004). However, those who hold merely orthodox (as distinct
from fundamentalist) beliefs are not necessarily more prejudiced (Laythe, Finkel, Bringle, et al.,
2002). In the contexts where religion is positively related to prejudice, it is due primarily to the
rigid thinking (fundamentalism, authoritarianism) that often accompanies religious belief.
However, when examining people who are equal in such rigidity, greater religiosity is actually
associated with less prejudice (Hansen & Norenzayan, 2006).
ANALYSES AND INTEGRATIVE FRAMEWORKS The individual differences that predict generalized
prejudice can appear to be a laundry list. In addition, it is unclear why SDO and RWA play such a central
role in predicting prejudice. There are four related, (Sidanius and Pratto, 1999). Social dominance
orientation (SDO) is the degree to which people oppose equality and believe that society should be
hierarchically structured, with some groups having higher status than others (Pratto, Sidanius,
Stallworth, et al., 1994). There is a great deal of evidence that people higher in SDO are more sexist,
racist (e.g., toward Blacks, Aboriginals, Indians, Arabs, Asians), and prejudiced toward immigrants,
lesbians, gay men, feminists, housewives, and physically disabled people (e.g., Altemeyer, 1998; Duckitt,
2001, 2006; Duckitt,Wagner, du Plessis, et al., 2002; Lippa & Arad, 1999; Pratto, Sidnius, Stallworth, et
al., 1994; Van Hiel & Mervielde, 2002; Whitley, 1999). To date, there is no evidence that, under normal
conditions, SDO predicts implicit prejudice toward outgroups (Pratto& Shih, 2000; Rowatt, Franklin, &
Cotton, 2005). SDO might predict explicit, but not implicit, prejudice if SDO guides people’s attitudes in a
deliberative manner based on propositional reasoning (i.e., consistency with other beliefs; Gawronski &
Bodenhausen, 2006). Remarkably, it has recently been discovered that SDO and RWA together account
for up to 50 per cent of the variance in people’s level of explicit prejudice toward a variety of outgroups
(Altemeyer, 1998; McFarland & Adelson, 1996). McFarland and Adelson (1996) found that SDO and RWA
accounted for the bulk of individual differences in people’s generalized prejudice (i.e., prejudice toward
a variety of groups). The only predictors to account for additional variance in generalized prejudice were
participants’ gender and levels of empathy. In general, the relation between SDO and RWA is positive
but weak, particularly in North American samples (Duckitt, 2001). Together, SDO and RWA are powerful
predictors because they each uniquely account for prejudice (e.g., Altemeyer, 1998; Duckitt, Wagner, du
Plessis, et al., 2002). Altemeyer (2004) examined those cases where individuals scored high (i.e., in the
top quartile) in both SDO and RWA. These ‘double highs’ were significantly more prejudiced toward a
variety of ethnic groups, compared with other study participants. In the last couple of decades, due to
theoretical and methodological advances in studying personality (i.e., the Big Five), research on the link
between personality and the susceptibility of being prejudiced has re-emerged. People who are lower in
the big five-personality factor of agreeableness (Ekehammar, Akrami, Gylje, et al., 2004; Graziano,
Bruce, Tobin, et al., 2007), and its facet tender-mindedness (Duckitt, 2001; Ekehammar&Akrami, 2007),
tend to be more prejudiced; as do people lower in empathy for others (Bäckström and Björklund, 2007;
Stephan & Finlay, 1999) and in warmth (Ekehammar & Akrami, 2007).1 In addition, people who are
lower in the big five personality factor of openness to experience; and its facets, openness to re-
examining values and openness to one’s feelings, tend to be more prejudiced (Ekehammar & Akrami,
2003). Finally, people have studied religiosity as a basis of prejudice. The more people hold
fundamentalist religious beliefs, the more they tend to be explicitly prejudiced (Altemeyer, 1996;
Altemeyer & Hunsberger, 1992), and implicitly prejudiced (Rowatt & Franklin, 2004). However, those
who hold merely orthodox (as distinct from fundamentalist) beliefs are not necessarily more prejudiced
(Laythe, Finkel, Bringle, et al., 2002). In the contexts where religion is positively related to prejudice, it is
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