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PSYC12H3 (298)
Chapter 2


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Michael Inzlicht

CHAPTER 2: ORIGIN AND MAINTENANCE OF STEREOTYPES AND PREJUDICE PSYC12 THE FORMATION OF STEREOTYPES Categorization - Theory of stereotypes has changed dramatically over time o Originally, stereotypes seen as sign of moral deficiency of the stereotype or even indicator of repressed unconscious hostility o Now, we believe that classification and categorization of similar objects in the environment - as early as 6 months old o Therefore, stereotypes moved from PRODUCT OF LAZY THINKING/MORAL DEFECTS  CONSQUENCE OF COGNITION Why We Categorize - Automatically, we assess the person we see on the basis of a person’s features - We categorize because we have limited-capacity cognitive system that cannot simultaneously process all available information in our social environment. - Aristotle’s principle of association: similar things on the basis of one feature may have other notable similarities - The basis of categorizing people can be very logical or illogical. Types of Categorization - Basic Categories or Primitive categories: Race, Gender , Age o Most immediate and obvious o Special status by researchers as these categorizations have strong influence on how the perceiver interprets most or all of the other information about a perceived individual o Can become automatic due to repeated use o Basic categories are used so often that they are the central points in which stereotypes develop - Stereotypes are not automatically activated for ALL stimuli o If primed with category label, work of categorization is done for us, automatically evokes associated stereotype o If primed with a member of a group, we must make the categorization and since there are so many, it does not immediately evoke the same types of stereotypes - Macrae et al suggest the way a person categorizes an individual depends on the perceiver’s mtotives, cognitions and affect - Only when a person wants to quickly evaluate the target do stereotypes become activated as a useful means of arriving at an attitude toward the target In groups and Out groups - People tend to form groups for a variety of reasons, motivations and to satisfy a wide range of purposes with social information and limitless array of membership criteria (for a task, common interest, for an occasion) - In groups: groups to which we belong vs. Outgroups: groups which we do not belong CHAPTER 2: ORIGIN AND MAINTENANCE OF STEREOTYPES AND PREJUDICE PSYC12 - Partitioning of groups depends on your current, salient motives, fears, goals and expectations (ALLPORT) - Taylor 1981: effect of one of one’s salient groups on perception and memory - 2 major goals served when having in group bias and out group homogeneity o In group bias or favoritism: members are unique despite sharing similar core features o Out group homogeneity: - Social Learning - Children learn through direct or observational learning of the rewards and norms that one’s society have for believing and behaving according to certain attitudes, children begin to acquire beliefs and values about the world. - By age 5, children show distinct recognition of and preferences for some groups over others including race, and gender preferences - Allport” Prejudice does not necessarily have to be taught by parent, it can be “caught” by child due to negative home environment Depends on authoritative nature and responsivity of parent. - Childhood Intergroup Contact: Wood and Sonleitm 1996 o Suggests childhood interracial contact is a good predictor of adult endorsement of out group stereotypes and prejudiced attitudes. o Study: White adults with higher index of childhood interracial contact (blacks in same clubs, churches or school) showed less stereotyping and less prejudice that those who were isolated from Blacks growing up. o Limitations:  no data on age of first interracial contact – could see early childhood contact leads to inoculation from stereotype formation, and prejudice  No way of ascertaining exactly what the interracial contact was on the index (causal or more sustained and involved?)  Questions that make up index of contact only really assess the potential for contact not necessarily actual contact (superficial measure of interaction with Blacks) - Value Transmission in Families: o Much evidence suggest that reacial attitudes are not inborn, and neither is it the case that race does not influence a child’s perception of the world until years later. o Research shows that 4 year olds show an awareness of racial cues and even show a preference for one race over others o Parents and other significant family members influence children in terms of what they learn about other groups and how they feel about them o Overt instruction in prejudiced atttudes has a strong impact on the very young child’s inter group attitudes leading the child to epouse with the same fervor and conviction the negative beliefs and feelings toward the outgroups as those voiced by the parent o Before 10, children do not comprehend the meaning or impact of these stereotypes and thus cannot really internalize these attitudes – essentialy parroting the out group sentiments of parents CHAPTER 2: ORIGIN AND MAINTENANCE OF STEREOTYPES AND PREJUDICE PSYC12 o Degree of child-parent intergroup attitude similarity was whether parent demonstrated Right-Wing Authoritarianism (RWA)  Attitudes of adult children with low-RWA parent similar to those of their parents  Attitudes of adult children with high-RWA parents more complex depending on parent’s responsiveness (encouraging discussion of problems, explaining reasons behind requests)  More responsive parents = more similar child-adult attitudes vs. less responsive parents because the child is less willing to adopt similar attitudes and values because there is little incentive to do so - Influence of Stereotypes on Cognition in Children: o Majority-group children More positive attitudes towards own group and more negative attitudes toward out groups. o Minority-group children held more positive views of the majority group over their own in group o Majority-group and Minority-group children attributed successful performances of majority-group members to positive, internal and optimistic attributions o Majority-group and Minority-group children attributed successful performances of minority-group members to luck o Majority-group and minority-group children remembers more positive and less negative things about majority gropu and more negative and less positive things about minority groups o McKown and Winstein found that between ages 6 to 10, majority-group children move from being virtually oblivious to others’ stereotypes about their in-group to being able to infer others’ stereotypes. Stigmatized children show stereotype threat on sterotype- relevant tasks  Anxiety of potentially performing poorly on a task and confirming stereotype impedes ability of completing task successfully  Activation of positive stereotype facilitated performance while negative stereotype impeded it - Stereotypes and Prejudice in the Media: o Prevalent heuristic in children and adults is that if it is in the media, it must be true. o Examples: Lack of men doing domestic duties in commercials and African Americans and Crime o African Americans are disproporately represented in media as perpetators of violence (over 20% more) o Heavy news viewers compared to those who do not watch the news as often are more uncomfortable being exposed to a dark-skinned perpetrator of a crime and more likely to remember if he was a dark-skinned Male. They had more favorable views of the victim if the perpetrator was Black. Implicit Theories - Implicit theories: what personality traits go together, beliefs and heuristics that guide one’s processing of social information and help us to evaluate others CHAPTER 2: ORIGIN AND MAINTENANCE OF STEREOTYPES AND PREJUDICE PSYC12 - Once we categorize someone has having a certain characteristics, we are more likely to assume that the person has a whole host of related characteristics - People range from entity theorists to incremental theorists – people are one or the other in different situation, it changes o Entity theorists: believe that one’s personality traits are fixed and cannot be changed, stable indicators of behavior o Incremental theorists: believe that one’s personality traits are flexible and can be modified, cognizant of the fact that behavior is less predictable and changes with the situation o Study by Levy et al shows that entity theorists are more often use stereotypes in their judgements of out groups, form more extreme judgements of out groups and attribute stereotype characteristics to inborn qualities within the out group individual over incremental theorists The Efficiency of Stereotypes - Stereotypes are useful in simplifying complex social environments and enable perceiver to quickly arrive at an evaluation of a target individual on the basis of very little information - Useful because then we can devote more energy to other demanding cognitive tasks - It takes too much time and cognitive resources to think thoroughly about every person and encounter, easier to use stereotypes because its more efficient and no one will know - Macrae et al suggest that the stereotype labels enabled participants to devote less attention to forming an impression of the target and more attention to remembering stereotype-associated personality descriptors. - When cognitive load is low, less likely to use stereotypes, when cognitive load is high, more likely to use stereotypes HOW AND WHY STEREOTYPES ARE MAINTAINED - Cognitive dissonance with stereotype use – two challenging views o One has stereotypes of others that guide one’s social judgements o One is good, fair and rational thinker - Which one changes when in conflict creating dissonance? o The one more amenable to change therefore the one not related to self-concept - We allow this self-delusion to maintain our cherished stereotypes while reducing the possibility for cognitive dissonance related to our self-concept Selective Attention to Stereotype-Relevant Information - Stereotype-inconsistent inthat formation is usually perceived to be dissonance arousing because it iis threathening to one’s self concept - Rather than believe stereotype-inconsistent information and risk harming one’s belief in self concept, people will choose to invalidate the stereotype inconsiststen information on some basisis - First, only believe information that confirms what one already believes - Stereotypes help us anctiicpate likely motives, attitudes, and behaviours of others and they therefore provide us with a comfortable sense of what to expect in our daily social interactions CHAPTER 2: ORIGIN AND MAINTENANCE OF STEREOTYPES AND PREJUDICE PSYC12 - Stangor and McMilliam – Expectations on memory for expectancy-consistent and expectancy- inconsistent information (meta analysis) o Memory tends to be better for expectancy-incongruent information than for expectancy- congruent information o When it comes to strong expectancies however, we are more prone to remember expectancy or stereotype consistent information - Koomen and Jijker 1997 – stereotype relevant information about out group vs. in group o For stereotype relevant information of an out group, participants remembered stereotype- confirming information more than disconfirming information o For stereotype relevant information of their IN GROUP, participants remembered stereotype inconsistent information MORE - Sherman, Stroes
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