CH.1 Introduction to the Study of Stereotyping and Prejudice
- Tendency to form groups is a basic part of the nature of animals and humans as it has
survival benefits successfully withstood time and evolution (fighting of predators, raising
offspring successfully, etc.)
- Disadvantages- mate competition and mate retention. They form closer ties with members
of their own group and they tend to be suspicious and rejecting of members of other
- They favour their own groups (in-groups) over other groups to which they do not belong
(out-groups). Even when group membership is based on the most arbitrary criteria (ex:
randomly assigning people to group A or B, an example of a minimal group), people tend to
show preferences for members of their own group over those of other groups
- Prejudice- negative feelings about other grps and for blvng that certain characteristics are
associated with other grps forming stereotypes, often because the outgrp members are
perceived to be antithetical to the in-group’s welfare or values
- Why is the study of prejudice and stereotyping important? Aside from a need to understand
the negative influence such thinking has on the thoughts, feelings and behaviour of people
in their daily lives, and how they relate to the targets of their prejudice, it’s important to
understand that such negative attitudes form the basis for subsequent negative intergroup
- Overt expressions of racial prejudice and intergroup hatred have declined dramatically;
racial prejudice and stereotypes have by no means disappeared. Virtually any group (racial,
age, gender, religious, etc.) one can imagine has been the object of prejudices and
stereotypes by other groups or individuals.
- It originally derives from a term to describe a printing process in which fixed casts of
material are reproduced. This term was adopted by social scientists when journalist Walter
Lipmann used the word stereotype to describe the tendency of ppl to think of someone or
something in similar terms- as having similar attributes based on a common feature shared
by each. He said we all have pictures in our heads.
- He was accurate in his speculation abt the origin of stereotyping, “we pick out what our
culture has already defined for us, and we tend to perceive that which we have picked out
in the form stereotyped for us by our culture”. Stereotypes tell us what social info is
important to perceive and to disregard in our environment. It tends to confirm pre-existing
stereotypes by paying attention to stereotypes consistent info and disregarding info that is
inconsistent with our stereotypes. Subsequent research has shown that, the content of
stereotypes is largely determined by the culture in which one lives. Stereotyping: From Bad to Neutral
- In his pioneering work, the Nature of Prejudice, Allport was ahead of his time in moving
away from including evaluative assessments of the goodness of stereotyping or those who
stereotype. He defined stereotype as an exaggerated belief associated with a category.
The Social- Cognition Definition
- Rsrchers came to regard stereotyping as a rather automatic process of categorization that
many cognitive and social psychologists believe is inherent in the very nature of the way
humans think about the world.
- Brigham defined stereotyping as a generalization made about a group concerning a trait
attribution which is considered to be unjustified by an observer. (A stereotype is any
generalization abt a grp whether an observer either a member of the stereotyped grp or
another observer believes it is justified or not.
- Hamilton and Trolier- stereotype is a cognitive structure that contains the perceiver’s
knowledge, beliefs, and expectations abt a human grp. Although they have included within
their definition the notion that a stereotype is the association btwn a grp and one’s beliefs
abt the grp, definition also includes one’s knwdlge and expectations abt the grp. Their
definition is broad and it sounds like the definition of a schema than a stereotype. Fiske and
Taylor defined schema as a cognitive structure that reps knowledge abt a concept or type of
stimulus, including its attributes and relations among those attributes
- A popular definition of stereotypes by Ashmore and Del Boca- a set of beliefs abt the
personal attributes of a grp of ppl
Cultural and Individual Stereotypes
- A cultural stereotype describes shared or community wide patterns of beliefs whereas
individual stereotype describes the beliefs held by an individual about the characteristics
of a group. Difference is important both theoretically and methodologically
- Ashmore and Del Boca suggest that adjective rating scales used by Katz and Braly tend to
assess stereotypes. Any other measure of stereotype content in which the respondent’
answers are restricted to the stereotype content choices offered by the measure tends to
provide an inaccurate measure of the person’s stereotype of the group.
- One’s cultural stereotype abt a grp may not be the same as one’s individual stereotype abt
the group so assessing a person’s knowledge abt the stereotype of the group in their culture
yields no info on whether the individual person believes the stereotype or there just ideas
about the grp that may tend to drive one’s attitude toward the group
- Lippman suggested that we tend to perceive that which we have picked out in the form
stereotyped for us by our culture but contemporary rsrchers interested in assessing
individual stereotypes Is Stereotype an Attitude?
- An attitude is a general evaluation of some object and it is either good, bad,
- Attitudes have 3 components: behavioural, affective, and cognitive. Majority of rsrchers
agree that stereotypes represent only cognitive portion of any intergroup attitude
- The other 2 components of an intergroup attitude, affect and behaviour, correspond to
prejudice and discrimination
- Discrimination: any negative behaviour directed toward an individual based on their
membership in a grp.
- Stereotype is an intergroup attitude composed of one’s thoughts or beliefs about, feelings
toward and behaviour toward a particular group
Positive vs. Negative Stereotypes
- Stereotypes neither good or bad but rather just generalizations abt a grp.
- Gardner- prejudice can be taken literally to indicate prejudgement about something. It can
suggest an evaluation, either positive/negative toward a stimulus. Ex: prejudice in favor of
your football team when it is playing another team (you’ve performed positive evaluation of
your team, relative to other team).
Prejudice as Negative Affect
- 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 because he is a member of that group
Prejudice as an Attitude
- During the 1960s, with the rise of social cognition in the early 1970s, rsrchers started
regarding prejudice as an evaluation of a stimulus (a social group). Prejudice is essentially an
attitude. Prejudice can be negative affect toward outgroup or positive prejudice in favor of
one’s ingroup but most rsrch hwever focuses on negative type of prejudice
- Prejudice can be based on affective (e.g., anger), cognitive (e.g., beliefs linking hostility to
the out-group), or behaviour (e.g., avoidant or hostile) sources and can result in cognitive,
behavioural, or affective expressions of prejudice.
- Affect is a common, influential basis upon which most prejudice is based. Stangor, Sullivan
and Ford found tht the best predictor of neg outgrp prejudice isn’t negative feelings abt the
outgrp but rather a lack of positive emotions. Based on these findings, some suggested tht stronger and obvious forms of prejudice is based on strong negative emotions whereas
more subtle types of prejudice is based on an absence of positive feelings abt the outgrp.
- In a study of white college students of their cognition, affect, and behaviours towards
various minority grp, they found tht affect and behaviour were strongest predictors of grp
attitudes. The authors suggest tht the quality of an itnergrp interaction is most dependant
on how good people feel, not hw well they think of grp members
- Eagly and Diekman suggests tht prejudice should be regarded as an attitude in context.
prejudice isn’t inflexible, it depends on the match or lack thereof btwn the social role into
which the stereotyped individual is trying to fit and the beliefs of the perceiver abt the
attributes tht are required for success in that role.
- Critics- 1. Some theorists assert tht an attitude or evaluation isn’t the same as affect. If
prejudice is an affect based reaction to a stimulus grp, then it can’t be the base that an
evaluation of the grp is the sme thing as prejudice. 2. Devin asserts tht notion tht prejudce
has an affective, cognitive, and behavioural component is probelamtic because rsrch shows
tht 3 compponents are alwys consistent. Ex: Devine found tht low prejudice individuals
know abt stereotypes of their outgrps, and LaPiere found tht ppl’s expressed attitudes
didn’t match their behaviour toward the outgrp.
Prejudice as a Social Emotion
- Self cateogrization theory states tht ppl view themselves as a member of social category or
grp. According to this theory, intergrp interactions will make salient (or bring to conscious
awareness) particular grp categorizations, depending on the nature of the grp interaction.
Turner also suggests tht its linked to one’s self identity and when they’re salient, any self-
relevant info in the interaction has affective and motivational consequences
- Smith and Ellsworth, appraisal is a set of cognition that are attached to a specific emotion.
Emotion in appraisal theory is triggered by an assessment of the adaptive significance of
self-relevance of the ppl and events in one’s environment. Ex: emotion of fear may be
elicited when one perceives the situation or individual is out of one’s ctrl or unpleasant
and blocks one from attaining one’s goals (to stay alive/healthy, etc).
- Smith suggest tht appraisals invariably involve the self, because they have relevance to
one’s goals in some fashion.
- There are 2 key diff in Smith’s conceptualization of prejudice: 1. Too vague to say tht
prejudice is a pos/neg feeling abt another grp. Our emotional reactions are specific like
anger, fear, disgust, etc. 2. Traditional conception of prejudice suggests tht if we’re
prejudiced against another grp (e.g. lawyers) then we should react with the same negative
affect to all members of the grp every time we encounter them but doesn’t fit with reality.
- Many prejudiced ppl can dislike the grp as a whole and most of its members but have
genuinely positive attitudes and affect toward a specifc member of tht grp like a friend or a
neighbor. This is known as subtyping, it allows the perceiver’s stereotypes to persist in the
face of wht would otherwise be a stereotype disconfirming case. - However Smith contends tht this obscures the fact tht ho