C12.Chapter 1.docx

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18 Apr 2012

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Chapter 1
- Groups are the basic building blocks of society
- When people form groups, they tend to form closer ties to members of their own group favour
their own groups (ingroups) over other groups (outgroups)
True even when arbitrarily assigned to groups
- Such a preference forms the basis for negative feelings about other groups (prejudice) and for
believing that certain characteristics are associated with other groups (forming stereotypes)
- Such negative attitudes also form the basis for subsequent negative intergroup behaviour
- Some believe that prejudice and stereotyping are no longer a problem in US as a result of
desegregation, the Voting Rights Act and affirmative action policies
Although overt expressions of racial prejudice have declined, racism has not disappeared
Lippman‟s “Stereotype”
- Stereotype originally used to describe a printing process
- Lippmann: used the word stereotype to describe the tendency of people to think of someone or
something in similar terms that is, having similar attributes based on a common feature shared
by each
- Stereotypes tell us what social information is important to perceive and to disregard in our
environment --- this process confirms pre-existing stereotypes by paying attention to stereotype-
consistent information and disregarding information that is inconsistent with our stereotypes
- Lippmann in his definition does not express any particular evaluation of the nature of
Stereotyping: From Bad to Neutral
- Other researchers saw stereotyping as an outward indicator of irrational, nonanalytic cognition
- Some (Adorno, Brunswik, Levinson, Sanford) characterized stereotypes as examples of rigid
- Many regarded stereotyping as an external sign of the stereotyper‟s moral defectiveness
- ALLPORT: did not include evaluative assessments of the „goodness‟ of stereotyping or those
who stereotypes, instead, defined it as: a stereotype is an exaggerated belief associated with a
Social-Cognition Definition
- 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 think
about the world
- BRIGHAM‟s definition: a generalization made about a group concerning a trait attribution, which
is considered to be unjustified by an observer
Problem with the second half: a stereotype is any generalization about a group whether an
observer believes it is justified or not
- HAMILTON & TROLIER: a cognitive structure that contains the perceiver‟s knowledge, beliefs,
and expectations about a human group
Too broad and includes one‟s knowledge and expectations about the group
Sounds more like a definition of a schema, then a stereotype
- Schemas are broader cognitive structures that contain our knowledge of a stimulus, our
expectations for the motives or behaviour of the stimulus and our feelings toward the stimulus
- ASHMORE & DEL BOCA: a set of beliefs about the personal attributes of a group of people
used today
Cultural & Individual Stereotypes
- Cultural stereotype: describes shared or community-wide patterns of beliefs
- Individual stereotype: describes the beliefs held by an individual about the characteristics of a
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- Adjective rating scales tend to assess cultural stereotypes; and one‟s cultural stereotypes are not
the same as one‟s individual stereotypes
- Individual stereotypes can predict a person‟s specific thoughts, feelings, and behaviour toward the
Is Stereotype an Attitude?
- An attitude is a general evaluation of some object; has three components behavioural, affective
and cognitive component;
Affect prejudice
Behaviour discrimination
Cognitive stereotype
- Discrimination: any negative behaviour directed toward an individual based on their membership
in a group
Positive vs. Negative Stereotypes
- Stereotypes are not bad or good; are merely generalizations about a group
- GARDNER: the word prejudice can be taken literally to indicate a prejudgement about
something, it can suggest an evaluation, either positive or negative, toward a stimulus
- An evaluation is an attitude
Prejudice as Negative Affect
- ALLPORT: an antipathy (intense dislike) based upon a faulty and inflexible generalization. It
may be felt or expressed. May be directed toward a group as a whole, or toward an individual
because he is a member of that group
Prejudice as an Attitude
- Researchers started regarding prejudice as an evaluation of a stimulus, an attitude, and therefore,
is seen by most researchers to have cognition (beliefs linking hostility to the group), affective
(anger), and behavioural (avoidant or hostile) components
- The best predictor of negative outgroup prejudice is not negative feelings about the outgroup but
rather a lack of positive emotions
Therefore, more obvious forms of prejudice are more likely based on strong negative
emotions, whereas more subtle types of prejudice may be based on an absence of positive
feelings about the outgroup
- “attitude-in-context” model: prejudice is not inflexible; rather, it depends on the match (or lack
thereof) between the social role into which the stereotyped individual is trying to fit and the
beliefs of the perceiver about the attributes that are required for success in that role
However: some assert that an attitude (or eval.) is not the same as affect; if prejudice is an
affect-based reaction to a stimulus group then it cannot be the case that an evaluation of
the group is the same thing as prejudice
Secondly: if prejudice having the three components is problematic because the three
components are not always consistent i.e. your expressed attitude may not match the
behaviour toward that group
Prejudice as a “Social Emotion”
- TURNER‟s Self-Categorization Theory: states that people view themselves as a member of a
social category or group (racial, ethnic, national, religious etc). According to this theory,
intergroup interactions will make salient (or bring to conscious awareness) particular group
categorizations, depending on the nature of the group interaction
Ex. When I interact with another religious group member, my religious self-
categorization may become more salient
These self-categorizations tend to be strongly linked to one‟s self-identity, and as such,
when they are salient, any self-relevant information in the interaction has affective and
motivational consequences
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