PSYC12: Psychology of Prejudice
Introduction to the study of stereotyping and prejudice
-humans have the tendency to form groups restricted on the basis of specific things
-by forming groups, humans have found that it is possible to construct their environment such that their
daily lives are easier
-people found that they could live longer, happier and more fulfilling lives than if people were each to
fend for themeselves only for their own group. Thus, it is reasonable to suggest that groups are the basic
building blocks of society.
-groups not unique to humans- it is a basic part of the nature of animals-survival benefits
-there are disadvantages to groups aswell ie mate competition
-closer ties within groups, rejection outside of group
-Ingroup favoritism, outgroup rejection
-Minimal Group: Group membership based on the most arbitrary criteria
Prejudice: Negative feelings about other groups- forming Stereotypes- Often b/c the outgroup members
are perceived to be antithetical to the ingroup's welfare and values.
-a logical analysis of intergroup hostility suggests that there is no rational basis for disliking others simply
b/c they belong to another group. But human thinking is far from logical. Ingroup favoritism and
negative attitudes towards members of other groups remain a pervasive aspect of human society tofay.
-negative attitudes form the basis for subsequent negative intergroup behavior. Some of the most
intergroup hostility has been based on a difference in religious beliefs.
-Ppl believe that prejudice and stereotyping are no longer a problem in the U.S. Overt expressions of
racial prejudice and intergroup hatred have declined dramtically, racial prejudice and stereotypes have
by no means disappeared.
-derived from a term to describe a printing process in which fixed casts of material are reproduced.
-Walter Lippmann- used the word stereotype to describe the tendency of people to think of someone or
something in similar terms- having similar attributes. Stereotypes tell us what social information is
important to perceive and to disregard in our environment. We pay attention to stereotype consistent
information and disregard information that is inconsistent with our stereotypes. The content of
steroetypes is largely determined by the culture in which one lives. STEREOTYPING: FROM BAD TO NEUTRAL
-researchers began to regard stereotyping as a very negative, lazy way of perceiving social groups.
-many regard stereotyping as an external sign of the stereotyper's moral defectiveness.
-Allport said that a stereotype is an exaggerated belief associated with a category, he was ahead of his
time in moving away from the evaluative assessments of the "goodness" of stereotyping or those who
THE SOCIAL-COGNITIVE DEFINITION
-early 1970's-birth of social cognition, stereotyping regarded as an automatic process of categorization
that many cognitive and social psychologists relieve is inherent in the very nature of the way humans
think about the world.
Definitions of stereotyping:
-Brigham- a generalization mad about a group concerning a trait attribution, which is considered to be
unjustified by an observer.
-it should be any generalization about a group whether the observe believes it is justified or not.
-Hamilton and Troliers- a cognitive structure that contains the perceiver's knowledge, beliefs and
expectations about a human group.
-seen as more of a definition of a schema (broader cognitive structures that contain our
knowledge of a stimulus, or expectations for the motives or behavior of the stimulus and our feelings
toward the stimulus) than of a stereotype. A stereotype is more specific and are subsumed within a
-Ashmore and Del Boca- set of beliefs about the personal attributes of a group of people
-restricts the meaning of stereotype to a generalization about a group of ppl. Most social-
cognition researchers today define stereotype in this fashion.
CULTURAL AND INDIVIDUAL STEREOTYPES
-it is important to differentiate between cultural and individual stereotypes.
Cultural Stereotype: describes shared or community-wide patterns of beliefs
Individual Stereotype: describes beliefs held by an individual about the characteristics of a group.
-one cultural stereotype about a group may not be the same as one's individual sterotype about the
IS A STEREOTYPE AND ATTITUDE? - An attitude is a general evaluation of some object. Comprised of three components: a behavioral
component, an affective component, and a cognitive component. Some theorists define stereotypes as
intergroup attitudes, partitioned into these three components. however, it is believed that stereotypes
represent only the cognitive portion of any intergroup attitude.
-affect and behavior correspond to prejudice and discrimination respectively.
Discrimination: any negative behavior directed toward an individual based on their membership in a
POSITIVE VS. NEGATIVE STEREOTYPES
-researchers don't regard stereotypes as being bad or good, they are merely generalizations about a
-prejudices can be a prejudgment of something or can suggest an evaluation, either positive of negative,
toward a stimulus.
-an evaluation is an attitude, and Gardner defined prejudice as a negative evaluation of another
PREJUDICE AS NEGATIVE AFFECT
-early theorists tended to define prejudice in terms of its affective basis. Allport defined prejudice as an
antipathy (intense dislike) based upon a faulty and inflexible generalization- it may be felt or expressed.
It may be directed toward a group as a whole, or toward an individual b/c he is a member of that group
-prejudice is the affective component of the intergroup attitude.
PREJUDICE AS AN ATTITUDE
-during the 60's, researchers started regarding prejudice as an evaluation of a stimulus. Prejudice is
essentially an attitude. Therefore like an attitude, prejudice is seen to have cognitive (anger), affective
(beliefs linking to hostility) and behavioral (avoidant/hostile) components. Prejudice can be positive of
negative but most researcher tends to focus on the more familiar negative type of prejudice.
-stangor, sullivan- negative outgroup prejudice is not negative feelings about the outgroup but, rather a
lack of positive emotions. Stronger prejudice may be related to the presence of strong negative feelings,
and subtle types of prejudice may be based on an absence of positive feelings about a group.
-affect and behavior were the strongest predictors of group attitudes. Therefore, the quality of an
intergroup interaction therefore is most dependent on "how good ppl feel, not how well they think of
group memebers". -Eagly- prejudice should be regarded as an "attitude-in-context"- prejudice depends on the math 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. Prejudice is most likely to be
displayed toward a disadvantaged group when that group tries to move into roles for which they are
believed by the majority group to be unqualified.
-critics have said that the three components of attitude are not always consistent. Ppl's