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PSYC12H3 (298)
Chapter 2

Prejudice Chapter 2.docx

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Michael Inzlicht

Chapter 2 ORIGIN AND MAINTENANCE OF STEREOTYPES AND PREJUDICE The Formation of Stereotypes Categorization  Human brain seems to almost automatically classify or categorize similar objects in the environment o This is pervasive and has been shown in children as young as 6 months  Stereotypes no longer regarded as the product of lazy thinking by the uneducated or those with moral deficiencies—now regard stereotypes as a natural consequence of cognition Why We Categorize  Humans have a limited capacity cognitive system that cannot simultaneously process all the available information in our social environment  We developed ways around our limited cognitive system—one way is categorization  We assume that things that are similar on the basis of one feature or because they occur together will likely have other notable similarities on a number of dimension o Ex. Blonds have more fun  Categorizing people can be very logical (according to their support of a political candidate, maybe assume they share similar social attitudes)—or illogical (colour of hair or skin) Types of Categorization  Tend to classify people along a few broad categories—race, gender, age o Referred to as basic categories or primitive categories—accorded special status by researchers because they have strong influences on how the perceiver interprets most of the other information about that other person o Occurs so quickly that with repeated use—the categorization of an individual is virtually automatic and non-conscious  Others suggest—stereotypes are not automatically activated for all stimuli o When we perceive category words (Hispanic, woman, accountant)— automatically think of associated stereotypes for that category o BUT when we see that person—we don’t automatically think of all of the stereotypes o Category labels do not require the perceiver to categorize the object because the label pre-categorizes the object for the perceiver  Thinking of a category name (e.g., woman)—automatically evokes the associated stereotype  Looking at a face—requires you to make a categorization (which can fall on any salient category) In-groups and Out-groups  Basic way we partition people in our social environment o into in-groups—groups to which we belong o and out-groups—groups to which we do not belong  One’s ingroups can be numerous (woman, black, student, Canadian, millennial  How you partition people in these groups depends on your current salient motives, fears, goals and expectations o At school—“student group” is salient o At mosque—“Muslim group” is salient  When participants were exposed to a discussion group of African Americans and Caucasians—participants were generally more accurate at recalling the race of the person who made the comment—less accurate at specifying the individual who made the statement  Individuals who are part of an outgroup are perceived to share similar characteristics, motives and other features—OUTGROUP HOMOGENEITY  BUT for our own ingroup—we like to think that our groups comprise unique individuals who happen to share one or two common features—INGROUP BIAS (FAVORITISM)  We think outgroup members are “all alike”—ingroup members are as different as snow flakes  Outgroup members who most closely resemble what one believes is the typical/representative member of an outgroup will be more likely to be perceived stereotypically than those who have fewer of the stereotyped characteristics of the typical outgroup member o This bias also affects criminal sentencing—whites and black who had the same criminal histories received the same sentences—BUT within each race, those with “African” features (typical of Blacks) received harsher sentences  Perceiving outgroups as all alike and ingroups as diverse—helps satisfy 2 goals o 1) we greatly simplify our social environments by categorizing people like that o 2) we enhance our self-concept by thinking that we do not belong to a homogenous, cookie-cutter type of group in which all members are similar in many dimensions—we attribute great individuality and other positive attributes to our ingroup members  In favouring ingroups—we also tend to put down outgroups o BUT—this is not really supported o Favouring ingroups does not necessarily mean that we also must dislike outgroup members  Exposure to members of a stereotyped outgroup can lead to either a more homogeneous (stereotyped) or heterogeneous (more positive) view of outgroup o When outgroup member does something bad/has negative characteristics—one’s stereotypes of the outgroup will be reinforced—interaction reduces likelihood perceiver will wish to interact further with the group—evaluation of group becomes more negative  Ingroup and outgroup biases can occur—even if groups are not meaningful o Ex. Minimal groups—randomly assigned  Basis for ingroup favouritism may be neither perceived dispositional similarity or just arbitrary categorization o Most likely—common fate of one’s group members  Outgroup homogeneity tends to be strong—ingroup favouritism is not as universal as we thought o Group status moderates the tendency to engage in ingroup favouritism o Low status groups tend to show outgroup favouritism—high status groups tend to show ingroup favouritism o As the status of the group is more self-relevant and important to one’s self- concept—the group will have a lot of influence on your perceptions of ingroup and outgroups Social Learning  Children learn many of their values, attitudes and other information about the world from their parents  Through direct or observation learning—of rewards and norms that society have for believing and behaving a certain way  By age 5, children show distinct recognition of (and preferences for) some groups over others—including race, gender  Link between prejudiced attitudes of parents and development of attitudes in children o Children of parents that are authoritarian (expect child to obey, never disagree, keep quite)—more likely to develop prejudiced attitudes  Distinguish between teaching and development of stereotyped attitudes and prejudice o Some parents directly/explicitly teach their children prejudiced attitudes o Other children develop prejudiced attitudes as a result of observation of the stereotyped attitudes and behaviours of their parents  Childhood Intergroup Contact o Childhood interracial contact is a good predictor of adult endorsement of outgroup stereotypes and prejudiced attitudes o Specific nature of the contact between the child and other racial group is important o Is casual contact (someone working at a store you go to) enough to help children form positive intergroup attitudes toward outgroup o OR is it important to have friends, teachers, other close contacts who are a different race to prevent the attitudes  Value Transmission in Families o Whether and how strongly we develop preferences for groups influences the way we think about others and at what age these preferences manifest o Racial attitudes are not inborn—but do emerge early (first few years of life) o Most 3 and 4 yr olds show awareness of racial cues—and show preferences for one over another o As child gets older—attitudes about racial groups become more coherent, complex, and intense o Parents are first and powerful source of information about world—children are influenced by that information o Overt instruction in prejudiced attitudes (like with white supremacists)—strong impact on child’s intergroup attitudes—child o In early years of life—child does not really comprehend the meaning of stereotypes—cannot internalize the attitudes—just parroting sentiments of their parents o Biggest factor influencing development of parental attitude—parent shows Right- Wing Authoritarianism (RWA)  Children of low RWA parents—had attitudes similar to those fo parents  Children of high RWA parents—depends on whether or not child saw parent as responsive (encourage discussion of problems/ explain reason behind requests)  Viewed as responsive—similar attitudes to parents  Viewed parents as unresponsive—not as similar attitudes as parents  RWA parents who are demanding and unresponsive—child is much less willing to adopt similar attitudes (little incentive for doing so)  Influence of Stereotypes on Cognition in Children o Majority group kids—more positive attitudes toward their own group and more negative attitudes toward outgroup o Minority-group members held more positive views of the majority group than even their own ingroup  Asked to explain successful performance of majority group members— both majorities and minorities made positive internal and optimistic attributions  Successful performance of minority—it was luck o Majorities and minorities—remember more positive and few negative behaviours about the majority group—less positive and more negative behaviours about minorities o Between age 6-10—kids majority kids go from oblivious of stereotype of their ingroup—to being able to infer others stereotype o Children from stigmatized groups—aware of stereotypes of their ingroup from a young age—show stereotype threat (on tasks)  Stereotypes and Prejudices in the Media o Children pay attention to overt and covert messages about groups in movies, television, etc o Heuristic among children and adults—“if its in the media, it must be true”  We use media as tool to help us decide the pervasiveness and acceptability of our beliefs and attitudes o If one always sees stereotypes in media—one comes to believe that these attitudes represent the normal or mainstream view of society  Ex. Common belief that African Americans (more than other racial groups)—more likely to engage in crime—BUT African Americans are disproportionately represented in the news as perpetrators of crime o Media is not objective reporter of news—it selectively leaves out some news stories and are biased  Less objective in reporting incidence of crime committed by African Americans relative to other racial groups—20% higher than what would be predicted based on actual statistics compiled by the FBI o Heavy news viewers, compared to those who only occasionally watched the news were more uncomfortable being exposed to a dark-skinned perpetrator of crime  more likely to remember the perpetrator if he was a dark-skinned Black male Implicit Theories  implicit theories—our own ideas/beliefs of what personality characteristics seem to “go together” o these heuristics guide our processing of social information—help to evaluate others  once we categorize someone as having a certain characteristic—we are more likely to assume that that person has a whole host of related characteristics  people have own beliefs about the nature of personality o entity theorists—believe that one’s personality traits are fixed and can’t be changed  because traits are fixed—stable indicators of behaviour  believe behaviour is consistent  more likely to believe host of related target-personality characteristics o incremental theorist—believe ones’ personality traits are flexible and can be modified  less likely to make inferences that entity theorists make about people  use stereotypes less The Efficiency of Stereotypes  enable us to very quickly arrive at an evaluation o useful because we can devote energy to more cognitively demanding tasks  humans have strong need to have a predictable somewhat ordered world o to think carefully about every person one encounters—takes enormous cognitive energy and time o thinking carefully—more accurate, but get nothing done  we reserve cognitive energy for times we are motivated to be accurate selecting people (selecting an employee, mate, teammate) o for others we use stereotype—but don’t think its fact  BUT do they really save cognitive energy o Facilitate fast evaluation, takes cognitive energy elsewhere How and Why Stereotypes Are Maintained  Stereotypes are difficult to give up—even though people admit that they are undesirable  Experience cognitive dissonance—want to be a good, fair rational thinker, but they can’t be prejudiced  Instead of thinking we use stereotypes to evaluate others—we convince ourselves that we are fair, logical, thinkers o We’re not even aware that we stereotype Selective Attention to Stereotype-Relevant Information  We are constantly exposed to wide variety of information about our stereotypes of others o Some are consistent with our stereotypes some are stereotype inconsistent o stereotype inconsistent—dissonance arousing  People only think about the validity of the stereotype-inconsistent information  Stereotypes help us anticipate likely motives, attitudes, and behaviours of others— provide us with a comfortable sense of what to expect in our daily social interactions o these expectations guide our behaviour—AND guide our perceptions of social information  Our attention is grabbed by unsual/surprising information—more likely to remember that info  Strong expectancy—prone to remember stereotype consistent information o but for our own in-group—more likely to remember stereotype inconsistent information
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