Prejudice and Stereotyping
- An attitude
- Ex. If I am prejudice against native peoples, then that means I dislike natives as
- Made up of three components:
1) Affect or Emotion- representing the type of emotion linked with an
attitude ( ex. Warms, anger)
2) Cognitive- involving the beliefs or thoughts (cognition) that make up
3) Behavioural- relating to ones actions-people dont simply hold
attitudes, they usually act on them as well.
Prejudice: Affective Component
- prejudice refers to the general attitude structure and its affective (emotional)
- Can involve either negative or positive affect. Ex. --> you could be prejudiced
against or in favor of Torontonians. In one case, your emotional reaction is
negative: When a person is introduced to you as Mike from Toronto, you will
expect him to act in a certain way that you associate with those snobbish
Torontonians. Conversely, if your emotional reaction is positive, you will be
delighted to meet another one of those sophisticated, cosmopolitan
- Prejudice consequently refers to as a hostile or negative attitude toward people
in a distinguishable group, based solely on their membership in that group. Ex.
If I am prejudice against native peoples, then that means I dislike natives as a
Stereotypes: The Cognitive components
- a generalization about a group f people in which identical characteristics are
assigned to virtually all members of the group, regardless of actual variation
among the members. Once formed, stereotypes are resistant to change on the
basis of new information.
- Gordon All port was thing of stereotyping as the law of least effort. The
world is just too complicated for us to have a highly differentiated attitude
about everything. Instead we maximize our cognitive time and energy by
developing elegant, accurate attitudes about some topics, while relying on
simple sketchy beliefs about others. Discrimination: The Behavioural Component
- Unjustified negative or harmful action toward a member of a group, simply
because of his or her member in that group.
- Ex if youre a police officer and you have a stereotypic belief that black
people are more violent than white people; this might affect your behaviour
toward a specific black man you are trying to arrest.
What Causes Prejudice?
- Prejudice might be built in, as part of our biological survival mechanism
inducing us to favor our own family, tribe, or race, and to express hostility
- Our tendency to categorize and group information together, to form schemas
and to use these to interpret new or unusual information, to reply on potentially
inaccurate heuristics (shortcuts in mental reasoning), and to depend on what are
often faulty memory processes-al of these aspects of social cognition can leads
us to form negative stereotypes and to apply them in a discriminator way.
- The creation of groupsputting some people in one group based on certain
characteristics and others in another group based on their different
characteristics. This is the underlying theme of human social cognition.
- In group members the tendency to evaluate in-group members more
positively than out-group members. People tend to think negatively towards
out-group members and tend to like in-group members.
- The tendency to discriminate against the out-group is even stronger when
people have chosen their group rather than been randomly assigned to it.
- Two reasons why we have the tendency to favour the in-group and discriminate
against the out-group
1) Belonging to a group gives us a social identity
People gain social identity benefits from dividing the world into
us and them.
2) Having a social identity contributes to feelings of self-esteem.
It gives us a self-esteem boost if they believe that their group is
superior and that other groups are inferior.
When our self-esteem is threatened, we are especially likely to
denigrate the out-group as a means of restoring feelings of self-
- another consequence of social categorization
- The perception that those in the out-group are more similar (homogeneous) to
each other than they really are, as well as more similar than the members of the
in-group are to each other.We can minimize such effects by changing the peoples perceptions of us and them.
1) One approach is to change the peoples perceptions of us and them by
either promoting a common identity or by emphasizing the super ordinate
groups to which in-group and out-group members belong. Prejudice and
discrimination can be reduced when peoples focus shifts from membership in
their specific in-group to a broader group that includes members of the out-
2) Provide with an alternative route to self-esteem, so they wont have to step on
other to be on top. There is evidence that prejudice is diminished when groups
share a common identity or goal.
-our attitudes toward members of another group are determined not only be our stereotype
of that group but also by our perception of that groups stereotype of us.
Devines theory of a Two-Step Model of Cognitive Processing:
1) The automatic processing- bring up information automatically-in this case,
stereotypes. It occurs whenever an appropriate stimulus is encountered, either a
member of a stereotypical group or contact with a stereotypical statement, causing
the stereotypes for that group to be accessed from memory. Automatic processing
occurs without your awareness. You dont purposely think of these thoughts, they
just happen or is triggered by the presence of th