For unlimited access to Textbook Notes, a Class+ subscription is required.
CHAPTER 6: EXPERIENCING PREJUDICE
•Prejudice originated and was maintained within the majority perceiver of the
•It is a fairly intuitive notion to think that if a perceiver holds prejudice toward a
target, and if we want to understand the processes that lead to the formation,
maintenance, and reduction of that prejudice, we need to understand more about
•Stereotyping and prejudice are not processes that involve a perceiver regarding
an inactive target of stereotyping.
•Rather, stereotyping and prejudice occur in a dynamic social context
involving the perceiver and target reacting to each other.
•It is a two way street, involving feedback from the target and often
confirms the expectations of the perceiver, with the perceiver’s behaviour
often then confirming the expectations of the target.
•Think of being different as a child, how did people perceive you?
Negatively? This is why so many people try to fit in with the majority: so
they will not be singled out for ridicule or treated negatively by others.
•Such treatment is fairly overly among children, who, not having learned
socially sophisticated methods of expressing disapproval, will have no
compunction about telling everyone and the individual in question about
the target’s deficiencies (sometimes entailing laughter, cruel jokes an/or
•Among adults, those negative evaluations may take the form of subtle
negative comments, rude behaviour, or other subtle expressions of
•Noted sociologist Erving Goffman referred to the unusual characteristics
that engender negative evaluations as being indicators of stigma. The
stigmatized person is one who is “reduced in our minds from a whole and
usual person to a tainted, discounted one”
oStigmas are characteristics that mark the individual as “deviant,
flawed, limited, spoiled or generally undesirable”
oThe reader will note that stigma encompasses all the more familiar
situations where prejudice is shown (i.e. racial, religious, gender,
age, sexual orientation), but it also covers any physical,
Behavioural, psychological marker that elicits negative evaluation
oGoffman denoted three types of stigmas:
1.Abominations of the body (e.g. physical deformities, being
2.Blemishes of individual character (e.g. drunkenness)
3.Tribal stigmas of race, nation, and religion (e.g. prejudice
against another race).
•Research indicates that individuals faced with external threats show
stronger in-group identification
oExample: with Jewish persons, African Americans, and women.
•Doosje and Ellemers found that people differ in the degree to which they
identify with their stigmatized group.
•High identifiers are much more likely to associate themselves with their
group, even when-especially when-it has a negative image.
oHigh identifiers derive much of their self-esteem from their
identification as a group member.
They are much more likely to seek collective strategies
against group threat.
In it for the long run, super loyal.
oLow identifiers, are much more likely to dissociate themselves from
the group, especially when the group has a negative image.
No special affinity toward, or derive no self esteem from,
Quite prepared to let the group fall apart, when the group is
threatened or has a negative image.
Low identifiers are thus much more individualistic and
opportunistic in that they will only identify themselves with
the group when it would positively affect their social identity.
•Individuals in stereotyped groups often find themselves ever vigilant
about not behaving in ways that confirm stereotypes.
•This is the stereotype threat.
•It would seem that if you were aware of the stereotype and you decided to
behave in ways that disconfirm the stereotype, you would behave in that
counter stereotypical fashion, and that would be it.
•The anxiety that one feels in thinking about possibly confirming the
stereotype can be so debilitation that it actually impairs one’s
performance on the stereotype-relevant dimension, thereby having the
paradoxical effect of confirming the stereotype.
•Research suggests that stereotype threat has its effect through the
mediating influence of a drop in working-memory capacity.
•Research shows that people under stereotype threat actually fare worse
physiologically than their non-threatened counterparts.
oSpecifically, Black participants in a threatened condition showed
significantly higher blood pressure than their non-threatened
oThe researchers suggest that this may help explain the higher
incidence of coronary heart disease and high blood pressure among
•Most of the attention has focused on stereotypes that revolve around
intellectual ability and performance.
•Statistics on results of standardized aptitude and intelligence tests over
the decade suggest that African American consistently average about 15
points les son such measures compared to Caucasians.
Socioeconomic disadvantages that African Americans
experience that affect their academic environment,
Cultural biases embedded into standardized intelligence
Discrimination and prejudice that they face from others.
oHowever, this does not explain the finding that even when African
Americans and Caucasians have the same preparation.