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Chapter 1

Chapter 1 Psychology of Prejudice

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Michael Inzlicht

Chapter 1 – Introduction to the Study of Stereotyping and Prejudice 1. Groups are the basic building blocks of society 1.1. Forming groups is a basic part of the nature of animals, and has survival benefits 1.2. Disadvantage of group formations – favour members of their own group (ingroup), over other groups (outgroups) 1.3. Even with Minimal group (groups formed on random or arbitrary criteria), members tend to prefer members of their group over other groups 1.4. Groups form prejudice and stereotypes 1.4.1.Prejudice – a biased evaluation of a group, based on real or imagined characteristics of the group members 1.4.2.Stereotype – a set of beliefs about the personal attributes of a group of people 1.5. Outgroup members are perceived to be antithetical (opposite) to the ingroup’s welfare 1.6. Negative attitudes form the basis for subsequent negative intergroup behaviour 1.7. Some of the most intense intergroup hostility has been based on difference in religion 2. Defining Stereotyping 2.1. Lippmann’s “Stereotype” 2.1.1.Lippmann used the word stereotype to describe the tendency of people to think of someone or something in similar terms (having similar attributes), based on a common feature shared by each 2.1.2.Stereotype was originally used to describe a printing process in which fixed casts of material are reproduced 2.1.3.Two significance of Lippmann’s stereotype. 1) stereotype tell us what social information is important to perceive and to disregard in our environment 2) tendency to confirm pre- existing stereotypes by paying attention to stereotype consistent information and disregarding information that is inconsistent with our stereotypes 2.2. Stereotyping: From Bad to Neutral 2.2.1.Stereotyping was a very negative and lazy way of perceiving social groups; rigid thinking; external sign of the stereotyper’s moral defectiveness 2.2.2.Research about stereotyping has moved away from moral correctness. Researchers now argue that stereotyping ought to be examined as a normal psychological process 2.3. The Social-Cognitive Definition 2.3.1.With social cognition, researchers regard stereotyping as automatic process of categorization; inherent in the nature of the way humans think about the world 2.3.2.Stereotype is any generalization about a group whether an observer believes it is justified or not 2.3.3.Schema – cognitive structure that represents knowledge about a concept or type of stimulus, including its attributes and the relations among those attributes 2.3.4.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 2.3.5.Stereotypes are much more specific and are subsumed within a schema 2.3.6.The definition of stereotype used in this book – “a set of beliefs about the personal attributes of a group of people” 2.4. Cultural and Individual Stereotypes 2.4.1.Cultural stereotype – shared or community-wide patterns of belief (e.g., most white people (that are culturally ‘white’)think that black people are criminals) 2.4.2.Individual stereotype – beliefs held by an individual about the characteristics of a group (e.g., a specific white person believes that all black people are criminals) 2.4.3.One’s cultural stereotype about a group may not be the same as one’s individual stereotype about the group 2.5. Is a Stereotype an Attitude? 2.5.1.Stereotype is similar to an attitude Attitude – general evaluation of some object 2.5.2.Attitudes have 3 components: Behavioural component, affective component, cognitive component 2.5.3.Some others believe that stereotypes represent only the cognitive portion of any intergroup attitude. The other two components of an intergroup attitude, affect and behaviour, correspond to prejudice and discrimination, respectively discrimination – any negative behaviour directed toward an individual based on their membership in a group stereotype is not an attitude 2.6. Positive versus Negative Stereotypes 2.6.1.Stereotypes should not be viewed as good or bad; they are merely generalizations about a group 3. Defining Prejudice 3.1. Prejudice as Negative Affect 3.1.1.An intense dislike based upon a faulty and inflexible generalization 3.1.2.It may be directed toward a group as a whole, or toward an individual because he is a member of that group 3.1.3.Most researchers have abandoned to view prejudice as emotion, and instead start to define prejudice as attitude 3.2. Prejudice as an Attitude 3.2.1.Prejudice is not simply the negative affect toward the outgroup, but it is also the positive prejudice in favour of one’s ingroup 3.2.2.Prejudice can be based on affective, cognitive, or behavioural sources and can result in cognitive, behavioural, or affective expressions of prejudice 3.2.3.Stangor, Sullivan, and Ford found that the best predictor of negative outgroup prejudice is not negative feelings about the outgroup but, rather, a lack of positive emotions 3.2.4.Stronger forms of prejudice are more likely to be based on strong negative emotions, whereas more subtle types of prejudice may be based on an absence of positive feelings about the group 3.2.5.Prejudice is most likely to be displayed toward a disadvantaged group when that group tries to move into roles for which they are believe by the majority group (e.g., Caucasians) to be unqualified 3.2.6.There are a couple of core problems with prejudice-as-attitude approach Attitude is not the same as affect Notion that prejudice has an affective, cognitive, and behavioural component is problematic because research shows that the three components are not consistent 3.3. Prejudice as a “Social Emotion” 3.3.1.Social emotion is essentially emotions that require the representation of the mental state of other people 3.3.2.Appraisal – set of cognitions that are attached to a specific emotion. Emotion is triggered by an assessment of the adaptive significance and self- relevance of the people and events in one’s environment 3.3.3.Two differences in Smith’s conceptualization of prejudice that make it a unique model of prejudice 1) Too vague to say prejudice is positive or negative feelings about another group. Emotional reactions to other groups are quite specific (e.g., anger) 2) People that are prejudiced toward a certain group does not dislike all members of that group per say. The reality is many prejudiced people can dislike the group as a whole, and most of its members, but have genuinely positive attitudes and affect toward a specific member of that group Subtyping can be used to explain difference #2. Subtyping – the prejudiced individual maintains a negative affect toward the group but creates a separate category for specific members, thereby allowing the perceiver’s stereotypes to persist in the face of what would otherwise be a stereotype- disconfirming case 3.3.4.How we react to any given outgroup member depends on 1) what self-category is salient for us at the moment (e.g., my Canadian identity when speaking with a French citizen) 2) in what context the interaction occur 3) how that person helps or hinders our movement toward salient personal or group goals at that time 3.4. Prejudice (agreed upon points about prejudice): 3.4.1.Occurs between groups 3.4.2.Involves an evaluation (positive or negative) of a group 3.4.3.Is a biased perception of a group 3.4.4.Is based on the real or imagined characteristics of the group 3.5. In this book, prejudice is – biased evaluation (attitude) of a group, based on real or imaged characteristics of the group members 4. The Link Between Stereotyping and Prejudice 4.1. According to the balance theory, one’s attitude, behaviour, and evaluation (and affect) toward another person should be cognitively consistent, or else one experiences a state of ‘imbalance’, which is an aversive state of ‘cognitive arousal’, which is called “cognitive dissonance” 4.2. E.g., it does not make sense to have positive feelings about lawyers but make jokes about them 4.3. According to the balance theory, then, our beliefs about a group will be determined by our attitudes toward a group. Beliefs about the group would always have to be consistent with one’s attitudes (or prejudice) toward the group 4.4. Wicker’s criticism toward the balance theory is simple. He examined the relation between attitudes and single acts. However research shows that attitudes are determined by a number of other factors besides attitudes. 5. Early Perspectives in Stereotyping Research 5.1. Measurement 5.1.1.First empirical study of stereotyping – Katz and Braly investigated the content of the stereotypes that White had regarding 10 different ethnic groups 5.1.2.Attitude research is important because attitudes lead to corresponding behaviours. E.g., if I know that John has a positive attitude toward Bruce but a negative attitude toward Bill, I would likely be accurate in predicting that John’s verbal and nonverbal behaviour toward Bruce would be characterized as friendly, whereas his behaviour toward Bill would likely be cold. 5.1.3.Researchers today agree that attitudes can allow one to predict subsequent attitude- relevant behaviour with a fair degree of accuracy 5.2. Individual differences in Stereotyping 5.2.1.From 1930-50, researchers searched for ‘factors’ that lead one individual to be stereotype. Hovland found that persuasion messages were most likely to be successful when directed toward a certain type of audience. Specifically, people who were less educated, distracted, and lower in self-esteem tended to be persuaded more easily than to other people 5.2.2.Primary reason a certain attitude was formed and maintained is that the expression of such attitudes was followed by reinforcing events (e.g., social approval) 5.2.3.Motivational-reinforcement theories suggest that the prevalence of prejudice and stereotyping at that time was attributable to the need for social approval and self-esteem. E.g., if people felt poorly about themselves, they can openly derogate a particular group and find allies with strangers who also share that attitude 5.2.4.Law of Effect – any behaviour that is followed by a positive event will be more likely to be performed again in the future 5.2.5.Another theory is the Frustrati
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