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PSYC12H3 (298)
Chapter 2


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Michael Inzlicht

CHAPTER 2: ORIGIN AND MAINTENANCE OF STEREOTYPES AND PREJUDICE chapte r explores in greater detail the nature of stereotyping and prejudice and on how each begins and on what factors facilitate their maintence in our culture, in our memories, and in our faily social interactions THE FORMATION OF STEREOTYPES Categorization -cognitive psychologists found that the human brain seems to almost automatically classify or categorize similar objects in the environment—pervasive: shown in children as young as 6 mos old >this led prejudice researchers to change their conceptualization of the nature of stereotyping. Stereotypes were no longer regarded as the product of lazy thinking by the uneducated or those w moral deficiencies. Instead, most researchers have takenAllport's lead and 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 info in our social env -b.c we have a need to understand and even anticipate the behaviour of others, humans have developed ways around our limited cognitive system—categorization being one of them >we categorize things on the basis of shared features or even shared time and space >Aristotle's principle of association: we assyme that things are similar on the basis of one feature or because they occur together will likely have notable similarities on a number of dimensions -can be logical and illogical Types of Categorization -race, gender, age—basic categories: special status by researchers bc they have strong infleunces on how the perceiver interprets most (if not all) of the other info about the perceived individual >process occurs to quickly w repeated use the categorization of an ind can become virtually automoatic and nonconscious -basic categories are used so often in perceiving ppl that they are central points around which stereotypes development -however, research has indicated that upon perceiving category words we automatically think of associated stereotypes for that category, yet when seeing a member of one of these groups we do not automatically think of all the stereotypes for the groups >Macrae and his colleagues suggest that the way ppl categorizes a picture of an ind depends on the perceivers motives, cognitions, and affects. Only when the perceiver wants to quickly evaluate the target in the picture do stereotypes become activated as a useful means of arriving at an attitude toward the target Ingroups and Outgroups -ppl tend to form groups for a variety of reasons and motivations, to satisfy a variety of purposes, and these groups are formed on the basis of a virtually limitless array of membership criteria -one of the most basic ways we partition ppl in our social env is into ingroups (groups to which we belong) and outgroups (groups to which we do not belong)--ones ingroup can be numerous -how a person partitions ppl in these groups depends on their current motives, fears, goals, and expectations >has implications for how they cognitively process ino abt a given ind in a particular environment -Taylor, Fiske, Etvoff, and Ruderman (1978) demonstrated the effects of one's salient groups on perception and memory for social informations. These researchers found that when participants were exposed to a discussion group ofAfricanAmericans and Caucasians, participants were generally accurate at recaling the race of the person who made the statements. Thus, it appears that ppl tended to perceive and remember the info in terms of race categories, and not in terms of the ind identity -dividing ppl into groups to which we either belong or do not belong has a number of implications for how we think about a given ind >we think that the outgroup members are all alike whereas our ingroup members are as diff as snowflakes >those outgroup members who most closely resemble what one belives is the typical or representative member of an outgroup will be more liekly to be perceived stereotypically than those who have fewer of the stereotyped characteristics of the typical outgroup members –bias can affect criminal sentencing: researchers found that Whites and Blacks who had the same criminal histories received the same sentences; however, w/in each race, those w more “African” feature received significantly harsher sentences—this tendency is referred to as outgroup homogeneity & ingroup bias (favouritism) -two major goals for these tendencies: 1) we greatly simplify out social env's by categorizing others in that way 2) we enhance our self-concept by thinking that we do not belong to a homogeneous, cookie cutter type of group in which all members are similar in many dimensions 3) >rather we attribute great individuality to our ingroup members -when we perceive outhroup members to be similar, how exactly are they similar? Early thoughts used to be that thinkking favourably about one's group meant, in part, that one was motivated to distinguish one's group favourably relative to other groups, providing basis for outgroup derogation >this stance is not supported : research indicates that favouring ingroups, does not mean we must dislike outgroups. In one study researchers examined the facilitative/inhibitory aspects for trait descriptors of one's groups versus outgroups. Participants reaction times to positive person descriptors were faster when preceded by a priming word that denotes ones ingroup (us, we, our). Their reaction times were slower to negative person descriptors when preceded by those ingroup primes. This is a clear indication of favouritism for one's ingroups, in that the ingroup word primes one to recognize postive info abt one's ingroups and inhibits or impairs ones recognition of negative information pertaining to ones ingroups . When participants were presented w outgroup priming words (they, them) their reaction times to negative person descriptors was not facilitated -the more an outgroup is seen as homogenous, the greater the likelihood for perceivers to use group or stereotype labels to process info abt the outgroup and its members—this thiknking can lead to outgroup derogation and outgroup discrimination -exposure to members of a stereotyped outgroup can lead to either a more homogeneous (and more stereotyped) or hetergeneous (and more positive) view of the outgroup, depending on the context >in one study, Henderson-King (1994) examined how White males would react to a White or African American couple having an argument or a neutral conversation. Henderson-King specifically wanted to find out how this reaction would affect their interaction w a subsequent White orAfricanAmerican confedeate who asked him for directions. Results indicated that, after watching the Black couple argue, participants interacted w the Black confederate for a shorter period of time (showing avoidance behaviour) -positive encounters w members of stereotyped group tend to lead perceivers to show more sympathetic beliefs about the groupd and be open to further interactions w that outgroup -the dimension on which ppl are viewed as ingroup or outgroup members does not need to be a meaningful one in order for biases to occur >in Tajfel and colleagues study (1971), they asked ppl to estimate how many dots were on a page. He then assigned ppl to groups ostensibly based on their ability to correctly estimate the number of dots. Unbeknownst to the participants, their scores on the task were not recorded, and they were arbitrarily assigned to their group.they were then asked to allocate their resourced given to them to either a fellow group member or a member of the other group. Results showed that they tended to allocate more resources to their ingroup members.--results imply that groups have no meaningful basis for their membership known as minimal groups, and they exhibit same ingroup favouritism found in more meaningful groups >minimal groups are called that bc they have none of the usual features of group structures: coherent group structures, interactions w other groups ..etc >ingroup favouritism and outgroup negativity tend to be initiated and perpetuated by our motivation to see our groups as special, and better than other groups: studies suggest that we rather implicitly rmbr + info abt our ingroups and negative info about outgroups – tendency becomes automatic -research by Boldry and Kashy (1999) indicates that outgroup homogeneity tends to be strong but that ingroup favouritism is not as universal as thought >data suggest that group status moderates the tendency to engage in ingroup favouritism, such that low status groups tend to show outgroup favouritism and high status groups showed ingroup favouritism only on one several dimensions Social Learning -children learn many of their values, attitudes, and other info about the world from their parents -in the search for clues as to the origin of stereotypes and prejudice, much research has focused on the role that parents play in the development of stereotypes in their children >by age 5, children show distinct recognition of, and preferences for, some groups over others -Allport suggests that there is a definite link bw the prejudice attitudes of parents and development of such in their children—children of parents who were authoritarian were more liekly to develop prejudiced attitudes—some parents explicitly teach children and other implicitly specifically in toxic atmospheres where prejudiced attitudes are not taught, but rather caught by children Childhood Intergroup Contact -Wood and Sonleitner (1996) suggests that childhood interracial contact is a good predictor of adult endorsement of outgroup stereotypes and prejudiced attitudes >they had white adults indicate whether, when they were grouping up, they lived in a neighborhood in which Blacks also lived, they belonged to any clubs or churches in which Blacks were also members, and they ever attended a school that also had blacks attending. These questions formed the index of childhood interracial contact. Results indicated that ppl who had more interracial contact showed the least amount of stereotyping and were significantly less prejudiced than those who were rather isolated from Blacks when they were chidlren >some limitations: 1) the measures collect no data on age of first interracial contact; 2) the q's that make up the index of contact do not rly assess the specific nature of the contact bw the respondent and Blacks; 3) the q's that make up the index of contact only really assess the potential for contact, not necessarily actual contact Value Transmission in Families -evidence shows that racial attitudes are not inborn, and neither in the case that race does not influence a child's perception of the world until years later—racial attitudes gradually develop in the first years of life—most 3 and 4 yr old show an awareness of racial cues and even show a preference for one race over others -parents are a first and powerful source of information about the world, and children are strongly influenced by this information >overt instruction in prejudiced attitudes, as in the case of highly prejudiced ind's (e.g., White supremacists) certainly has a strong impact on the very young child's intergroup attitudes, leading the child to espouse w the same fervor and conviction the negative beliefs and feelings toward the outgroups as those voiced by the parents >prejudice can also be learned indirectly—jokes, overt and subtyle intergroup behaviour, and derogatory labels (or slang words) uused by parents in reference to other groups >at approx. Before 10 years of age, children are essentially parroting the outgroup sentiments of their parents -the biggest factor that seemed to influence the degree of parent and child intergroup attitude similarity was whether the parents exhibited Right-WingAuthoritarianism >attitudes of adult chiildren of low-RWAparents were v similar to those of their parents. The relationship bw the intergroup attitudes of high-RWA parents and those of their children was a bit more complex, depending on whether the child saw the parents as responsive (encouraging discusssion of problems, explaining the reasons behind requests). Those who viewed their high-RWAparents are responsive were much more attudinally similar to their parents, compared to those who viewed their parents as unresponsive –therefore, it appears that children will adopt attitudes and values similar to those of their parents, except when they perceive their parents as both demanding (a major feature of high RWAs) and unresponsive Influence of Stereotypes on Cognition and Children -stereotypes have strong influence on a child's perception of their ingroups and outgroups -Corenblum, Annis and Young andAboud found that majority-group children held more positive attitudes toward their own group and more negative attitudes toward outgroups. Minority group members also held more positive views of the majority group than of even their own ingroup >when asked to explain to successful performances of majority group members, both majority-group children and minority children made positive, internal, and optimistic attributions—both groups explained that luck was in favour for minority groups success -McKown and Weinstein found that bw ages 6 and 10, majority-group children move from being virtually oblivious to tohers' stereotypes abt their ingroup to being able to infer others' stereotypes. These researchers found that children from stigmatized groups are aware of stereotypes abt their group from a v yound age and they show effects of the stereotype threat on stereotype relevant tasks -stereotypes also infleunce overall cognitive performance in children in much the same way that they do in adults Stereotypes and Prejudice in the Media -a prevalent heuristic among both children and adults seems to be “if it is in the media, it must be true” >we use the media as a tool to help us decide the pervasiveness and acceptability of our beliefs and attitudes—if one routinely sees stereotypes portrayed in the media, then one may come to believe that these attitudes represent the normal, or mainstream, view of society -the media often less than objective in reporting the incidence of crimes committed by AfricanAmericans relative to other racial groups >in an analysis of the portrayal of persons of colour that Caucasians in three local tv newscasts, Romer, Jamieson, and deCoteaus found that, over 14 weeks of newscasts, persons of colour were much more likely to be presented as perpetrators of crimes, and Caucasians as victims >Romer et al found that the frequency of crimes by persons of colour that were reported on the newscasts were abt 20% higher than what would be predicted based on actual stats compiled by the FBI >Chidya cites data from the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics that indicates over half of violent crimes are committed by Caucasians and 64% of victims of violent crimes identified their attacker as Caucasians -biased portrayals can lead to formation of artificial, illusory, correlatoin bw AfricanAmericans and criminal behaviour which leads to formation and maintenance of negative stereotypes abtA.Americans Implicit Theories -we all have ideas of what personality characteristics seem to “go together” in ppl and about the nature of personlity >once we have categorized someone as having a certain characteristic, we are more likely to assume that the person has a whole host of related characteristics, the specifics are which are determined by the content of one's implicit theory of personality —researhcers refer to those beliefs as implicit theories bc these beliefs and heuristics guide one's processing of social info and help us to evaluate and (sometimes stereotype) others -ppl form their own beliefs abt the nature of personality—some ppl, termed entity theorists—believe that one's personality traits are fixed and cannot be changed, while others, termed incremental theorists believe that one's personality traits are flexible and can be modified >Levy, Stroessner, and Dweck found that, compared to incremental theorists, entity theoriests did indeed tend to use stereotypes more often in their judgments abt outgroups, form more extreme judgments abt the outgroup, and attribute stereotyped characteristics to inborn qualities w/in the outgroup individual The Efficiency of Stereotypes -stereotypes enable the perceiver to v quickly arrive at an evaluation of a target individual on the basis of v little info—useful bc more energy can be devoted to demanding cognitive tasks -humans have a strong need to have a predictable, somewhat-ordered world -although a careful social perceiver would be much more likely to be accurate in their assessments of others, they would get little else accomplished that day >instead, we reserve our considered cogniitve efforts for those instances in whichic we are motivated to be accurate in our assessment of a select other person—for the rest of population, we play the odds that the stereotypes we use will yield at least some accurate information about the target ind or give us the feeling that we know alot abt tht person -instead of assuming our instant impression of others were fact, one wud do well to consider recasting their stereotypes impressions as “hunches to be verified”--ppl wud be more likely to have the advantages of both efficiency and accuracy in their evaluation of others -Macrae, Milne, and Bodenhausen (1994) examined the assumption that stereotypes function as cognitive resource preserving tools. They examined the ability of participants to do two cognitive tasks at one time: forming impression of a target individual while also monitoring a prose passage. For some participants, the impression formation task also included stereotype labels of the target, whereas for others no stereotype label was provided. If stereotypes facilitate fast judgements of others and conserve mental energy for other resources, one should find that those who were given the stereotype labels would be able to devote more cognitive effort to the prosemonitoring task and the impression-monitorinng tasks, as compared to those who did not get the label. Indeed, the results indicated that those who were provided w the stereotype label were able to recall twice as many personality descriptors for the target and to recall more of the paragraph info than those given no stereotype label—results suggest stereotypes function as energy saving tools in social perception—however, when our cognitive task is simple, we are much less likely to rely on stereotypes in our assessment of the other person, bc our cognitive capacity to think carefully abt the persons attributes is not taxed by the need to process alot ofi nfo abt the person to
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