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Chapter 2

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University of Toronto St. George
William Huggon

Chapter 2: Origin and Maintenance of Stereotypes and Prejudice The Formation of Stereotypes: Categorization - The humane brain seems to almost automatically classify or categorize similar objects in the environment - Pervasive; shown in children as young as 6 months old - Allport (1954): stereotypes as a natural consequence of cognition Why We Categorize - Humans have a limited-capacity cognitive system and cannot simultaneously process all the available information in our social environment - Categorize on the basis of shared features, or even shared time and space  Aristotle’s principle of association: 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 dimensions  The basis can be very logical or illogical Types of Categorization - Basic/primitive categories (the most immediate and obvious features of an individual): 1. Race 2. Gender 3. Age  Occurs so quickly, virtually automatic and non-conscious  Central points around which stereotypes develop Stereotypes are not automatically activated for all stimuli  upon perceviing category words, we automatically think of associated stereotypes for that category, but when seeing a member of one of these groups, Merely being exposed to a face of a we do not automatically think of all of White or Black person or words the stereotypes for that group associated with a gender group can instantaneously evoke the associated ∵ Category labels do not require the cognitions, beliefs, and feelings one has perceiver to catgteorize the object, for that group because the label precategorizes the obejct for the perceiver but perceiving a face requires the individual to make a categorization and categorization ca fall on any of a number of different salient dimensions Ingroups and Outgroups - Ingroups (groups to which we belong) vs. outgroups (groups to which we do not belong) - How you partition people in these groups depends on your current, salient motives, fears, goals and expectations  When exposed to a discussion group of African Americans and Caucasians, participants were generally accurate at recalling the race of the person who made a particular comment but were less accurate at specifying the individual who made the statement  remember info in terms of race categories, not individual identity - Outgroup homogeneity (outgroup members are perceived to share similar characteristics, motives, and other features) vs. Ingroup bias (or Favouritism) (ingroup members are comprise of unique individuals who happen to share one or two common features)  satisfies 2 major goals 1. We greatly simplify our social environment 2. We enhance our self-concept  Tend to be initiated and perpetuated by our motivation to see our groups as special, and better than other groups - Outgroup members who most closely resemble what one believes is the typical member of an outgroup will be more likely to be perceived stereotypically than those with fewer stereotyped characteristics  White & Blacks with the same criminal histories received the same sentences  within each race, those with more “African” features received significantly harsher sentences - Ingroup bias does NOT lead to outgroup derogation  Reaction time faster in response to positive ingroup primes and slower to negative ingroup primes, but reaction time was NOT faster when presented with negative outgroup primes - The more an outgroup is seem as homogeneous, the greater the likelihood for perceivers to use group or stereotype labels to process information about the group (and its members) - When the outgroup member does something bad, or has negative characteristics, one’ stereotypes of the outgroup will be reinforces  reduces further interactions - Positive encounters with members of the stereotyped group tend to lead perceivers to show more sympathetic beliefs about the group  open to further interactions - The dimension on which people are viewed as ingroup or outgroup members does not need to be a meaningful one in order for ingroup and outgroup biases to occur  Tajfel et al. (1971): minimal groups (groups that have no meaningful basis for their membership; no usual features of group structure) would exhibit the same ingroup favouritism  The common fate of one’s group members seems to be the catalyst for ingroup favouritism and outgroup homogeneity - Boldry & Kashy (1999): outgroup homogeneity tends to be strong but ingroup favouritism is not as universal  Group status moderates the tendency to engage in ingroup favouritism  Ex. low-status groups tend to show outgroup favouritism and high-status groups showed ingroup favouritism only on one of several dimensions  Data collected from naturally existing groups  More research needed to examine the relation between the self-relevance of the group and one’s ingroup and outgroup perceptions Social Learning - By the age of 5, children show distinct recognition of, and preferences for, some groups over others (including race and gender preferences) - Allport (1954): there is a definite link between the prejudices attitudes of parents and the development of such attitudes in their children  Children of parents who were authoritarian (expect the child to obey, to never disagree, to keep quiet, and who were more strict disciplinarians) were more likely to develop prejudices attitudes  Prejudice was not taught by the parent, by was caught by the child from an infected atmosphere I. Childhood Intergroup Contact - Woode & Sonleitner (1996): childhood interracial contact is a good predictor of adult endorsement of outgroup stereotypes and prejudice attitudes  People who had more interracial contact showed the least amount of stereotyping and were significantly less prejudices than those who were rather isolated from Blacks when they were children  Limitations of the study: 1. The measure collects no data on age of first interracial contact (When is interracial contact the most potent inoculation to forming prejudices attitudes and stereotyped beliefs?) 2. The questions that make up the index of contact do not really assess the specific nature of the contact between the respondent and Blacks (Is it casual or close contacts?) 3. The questions that make up the index of contact only really assess the potential for contact, not necessarily actual contact II. Value Transmission in Families - Racial attitudes gradually develop in the first years of life - 3- and 4-year-olds show an awareness of racial cues and even show a preference for one race over others - As children get older, their attitudes about racial groups become more coherent, complex, and intense - Overt instruction in prejudices attitudes has a strong impact on the very young child’s intergroup attitudes but prejudice can also be learned indirectly  Jokes, overt and subtle intergroup behaviour, and derogatory labels (or slangs) used by parents in reference to other groups can have a strong influence on the attitudes the child develops about those groups  In early years of life (approx. before age 10) the child does not understand these stereotypes  cannot internalize these attitudes  essentially parroting the outgroup sentiments of their parents - The exhibition of Right-Wing Authoritarianism in parents influence the degree of intergroup attitude similarity children have with their parents  Attitudes of adult children of low-RWA parents were very similar to those of their parents  The relationship between the intergroup attitudes of high-RWA parents and those of their children was a bit more complex  depends on whether the child saw the parent as responsive  Responsive  much more attitudinally similar  Unresponsive  less attitudinally similar - 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 III. Influence of Stereotypes on Cognition in Children - Corenblum et al. (1996) & Aboud (2003):  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 their own ingroup  When asked to explain successful performances of majority group members, both majority- and minority-group children made positive, internal, and optimistic attributions  Both groups attributed successful performances of minority-group children to luck  Both groups tend to remember more positive and few negative behaviours about the majority group and more negative and fewer positive behaviours about the minority group - Children from stigmatized groups are aware of stereotypes about their group from a very young age  tend to show effects of the stereotype threat on stereotype-relevant tasks - Stereotypes influence overall cognitive performance in children  Activation of negative stereotypes impeded and positive stereotypes facilitated performance on math test in both young and older children IV. Stereotypes and Prejudice in the Media - The media is used as a tool to help us decide the pervasiveness and acceptability of our beliefs and attitudes  “If it is in the media, it must be true” - The media is often less than objective in reporting the incidence of crimes committed by African Americans relative to other racial groups - Dixon & Maddux: heavy news viewers were more uncomfortable being exposed to dark-skinned perpetrator of a crime and they were more likely to remember the perpetrator if he was a dark-skinned Black male & had more favourable views of the victim when the perpetrator was black Implicit Theories: - Our own ideas of what personality characteristics seem to go together in people & ideas about the nature of personality  these beliefs and heuristics guide one’s processing of social information and help us to evaluate others  Entity theorists: believe that one’s personality traits are fixed and cannot be changed  Traits are stable indicators of behaviour  Behaviour is consistent  More likely to infer a host of related target-personality characteristics based on an isolated behaviour by the target  Tend to use stereotypes more often in their judgment of outgroups and form more extreme judgments  Incremental theorists: one’s personality traits are flexible and can be modified  More cognizant of the belief that behaviour (and personality is less predictable just based on one sample of behaviour 
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