Chapters 1-5

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2 Mar 2011

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CHAPTER 1: Introduction to the Study of Stereotyping and
oGroups are not unique to humans. 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 successful that it has (e.g. fighting off
predators, raising offspring successfully) withstood time and evolution.
oThere are some disadvantages and complications that groups bring:
Mate competition
Mate retention.
They tend to form closer ties to members of their own group, and they
tend to be suspicious and rejecting of members of other groups.
Groups tend to favor their own groups (called in-groups) over other
groups to which they do not belong (out groups)
Randomly assigning people to group A or group B is an example of
minimal group; people tend to show preference for members of their own
group over those of other groups.
oThey form the basis for negative feelings about other groups (prejudice) and for
believing that certain characteristics are associated with other groups (forming
stereotypes) often because out-group members are perceived to be antithetical
to the in-groups welfare or values.
oEvolutionary psychology suggests, in-group preferences and hostility toward out
groups are adaptive, and therefore innate, there is little we can do to avoid
prejudice and stereotyping.
oWhy is the study of prejudice and stereotyping important?
A need to understand the negative influence such thinking has on the
thoughts, feelings, and behaviour of people in their daily lives, and how
they relate to the targets of their prejudice, it is important to understand
that such negative attitudes form the basis for subsequent negative
intergroup behaviour. [Wars]
oSome believe that there is a huge decline in prejudice and stereotyping in the
US, but its just that overt expressions of racial prejudice and intergroup hatred
have declined dramatically, racial prejudice and stereotypes have by no means
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Originally derives from a term to describe a printing process in which
fixed casts of material are reproduced.
Lippmann used the word to describe the tendency of people to think of
someone or something in similar terms that is, as having similar
attributes based on a common feature shared by each. He said that we
all have pictures in our heads (p.3) of the world outside and that their
representations are more likely templates into which we try to simplify
the sometimes-confusing information we receive from the world.
We pick out what our culture has already defined for us, and we tend to
perceive that which we have picked up in the form stereotyped for us by
our culture.
i.Basically meaning stereotypes tell us what social information is
important to perceive and to disregard in our environment.
ii.This confirms preexisting stereotypes by paying attention to
stereotype consistent information and disregarding information
that is inconsistent with our stereotypes.
iii.The content of stereotypes is largely determined by the culture in
which one lives.
oAfter Lippmann, researchers generally began to regard stereotyping as a very
negative, lazy way of perceiving social groups. Stereotyping was seen as an
outward indicator of irrational, no analytic cognition. An example of
rigid thinking.
oAllport: a stereotype is an exaggerated belief associated with a category.
In the early 1970s, with the birth of social cognition, researchers came to
regard stereotyping as a rather automatic process of categorization that
many cognitive and social psychologists believe is inherent in the very
nature of the way humans thinking about the world
A stereotype is any generalization about a group whether an
observer (either a member of the stereotyped group or another
observer) believes it is justified or not.
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Hamilton and Troliers definition of a stereotype as a cognitive
structure that contains the perceivers knowledge, believes, and
expectations about a human group (TOO BROAD: knowledge,
believes, and expectations about a human group, and inconsistent with
the traditional definitions of a stereotype)
i.Sounds more like the definition of a schema than of a stereotype.
Schemas are therefore broader cognitive structures that contain
our knowledge of a stimulus, our expectations for the motives or
behaviour of the stimulus (if a living being) and our feelings toward
the stimulus. Example page 5.
Stereotype: a set of beliefs about the personal attributes of a
group of people Ashmore and Del Boca.
It is important to differentiate between cultural and individual
i.Cultural: shared or community wide patterns of beliefs.
ii.Individual: describes the beliefs held by an individual about the
characteristic of a group.
This is important, because ones cultural stereotype about a group may
not be the same as ones individual stereotype about the group.
Which of these two tends to predict future behaviour and attitudes toward
a given group?
i.Early thinking cultural.
ii.Now individual because these are most directly related to that
persons specific thoughts, feelings, and behaviour toward the
Some say yes. At attitude is a general evaluation of some object.
Attitudes comprise of three components: a behavioral component, an
affective component, and a cognitive component. THUS, stereotypes as
intergroup attitudes, partitioned into these three components.
MOST believe that stereotyping represent only the cognitive portion of
any intergroup attitude.
Prejudice represent the affective component
Discrimination represents the behaviour component.
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