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Chapter 11

PSYC 231 Chapter Notes - Chapter 11: Illusory Correlation, Fundamental Attribution Error, Social Dominance Orientation

Course Code
PSYC 231
Carrie Kobelsky

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prejudice: a negative pre-judgment of a group & its individual members
-is an attitude composed of a distinct combination of feelings, inclinations
to act, & beliefs
-(ex. “all _____ are ______”)
-overt expression of prejudice has decreased, though subtle forms are still
subtle prejudice: occurs in our exaggerations of racial differences,
& appears in our preferences for surrounding us with what is familiar,
similar & comfortable
automatic prejudice: prejudice occurring out of peoples awareness
-measured by the speed of people’s associations
-more susceptible to it when surrounded by people similar to us
stereotypes: beliefs about the personal attributes of a group of people
(when you apply to everyone, then it turns into prejudice)
-(ex. Asians are good at math)
-tend to be overgeneralized, inaccurate, & resistant to new information
-though they are not always negative or inaccurate
-the problem with stereotypes is when they are overgeneralized or just
plain wrong, &/or when people attribute negative evaluations to biology
& not acknowledging toxins social forces
discrimination: unjustifiable negative behaviour towards a group &/or its
members, often (though not always) stemming from a prejudicial attitude
-racism: an individual’s attitudes & discriminatory behaviour towards
people of a given race, or institutional practices that subordinate people
of a given race
-sexism: an individual’s attitudes & discriminatory behaviour towards
people of a given gender, or institutional practices that subordinate
people of a given gender
social sources of prejudice:
-social inequalities — unequal status breeds prejudice & mistrust
prejudice helps to justify the economic & social superiority of those
who have the wealth & power
wealthy people attribute their position less to situational factors, &
more to their own abilities
help us perceive order in our world
social dominance orientation: a motivation to have your own
group be dominant over other social groups
-promoted by being in a high-status position
-related to the persons group status
-socialization — are acquired beliefs & attitudes
authoritarian personality — intolerance for weakness, a punitive
attitude, & a submissive respect for their in-group’s authorities
-tend to be more ethnocentric (believe in the superiority of their
own ethnic & cultural groups, & have a corresponding disdain for
all other ethnic & cultural groups)
-authoritarian people as children often faced harsh discipline,
which leads them to repress their hostilities & impulses, which
they then project out onto over group
-insecurities of authoritarian people also predispose them to an
excessive concern with status & power
-authoritarianism is related to concern with security & control
-double highs: people high in social dominance orientation &
authoritarian personality — the most prejudice people in society
religion — often use to justify the current social order & the beliefs
of a righteous person (if there is a “righteous” person though, then
there has to also be “un-righteous” people)
-a correlational relationship — the interaction between religion &
prejudice depends on how each one is defined & how the question
is worded
conformity — people are more likely to favour or oppose
discrimination after hearing someone do so & are less supportive of
women after hearing sexist humour
-those less conforming mirror less surrounding prejudice
-therefore, if prejudice is not deeply ingrained in someone’s
personality, there is hope for change
-institutional supports — social institutions reinforce dominant cultural
attitudes, & their support for prejudice is often unintended & unnoticed
very strong & prominent source of prejudice
motivational sources of prejudice:
-frustration & aggression — being blocked from our goal leads to pain
& frustration, which evokes aggression
the scapegoat theory: (displaced aggression) when our frustration is
intimidating or vague, we redirect it to some other target (scapegoat)
competition is a common source of frustration, which fuels prejudice
realistic group conflict theory: the theory that prejudice arises
from competition between groups for scarce resources
-Gause’s law: maximum competition will exist between
groups with identical needs
-social identity theory — we naturally divide ourselves & define (part of)
our identity based on our groups
we categorize — we find it useful to put ourselves & others in groups
we identify — we associate ourselves with certain groups & gain self-
esteem by doing so
-in-groups: “us” — groups of people who share a sense of
belonging & feeling of common identity
we compare — we contrast our groups with other groups, with a
favourable bias towards our own group
-out-groups: “them” — groups that people perceive as
distinctively different from or apart from their in-group
having a sense of “we-ness” strengthens our self-concept & builds
pride & self-esteem
-when you no loner differentiate between yourself & your social-
identity, this is when people become willing to sacrifice themselves
for their group
in-group bias: the tendency to favour your own group
-a way to express our positive self-concept, & to also help support
our positive self-concept
-more prone to in-group bias when part of a small & lower-status
group because our connections & contributions seem larger
-when we’re part of a small group surrounded by a larger group,
we our conscious of our membership, but when our in-group is the
majority, we think less about it
-minimal groups — simply belonging to one group & not another
still is enough to encourage prejudice
-tend to ascribe uniquely human emotions to in-group members,
but are more reluctant to see them in out-group members
-positive feelings towards our own groups are not necessary
mirrored by equally strong negative feelings towards others
-need for status, self-regard, & belonging — in order to perceive
ourselves as having status, we need to have people below us, thus
prejudice allows us to feel superior
when affirmed, we will evaluate an out-group more positively
when self-esteem is threatened, we restore it by attacking an out-group
-criticism can make us more prone to prejudice
despised out-groups can also serve to strengthen an in-group
mortality salience: if we think about our own mortality, we tend to
see the similarities of those in our own group as being more
important & be more prejudice to an out-group
-motivation to see the world as just — merely seeing someone innocent
be victimized is enough to make the victim seem less worthy
just-world phenomena: the tendency of people to believe that the
world is just, & therefore, people get what they deserve & deserve
what they get
doesn’t acknowledge completely uncontrollable factors which can
also extremely alter someone’s future
this motivation can lead people to just ignore gross injustice & instead
see no injustice at all
-motivation to avoid prejudice — even though we dont want to be
prejudiced, a prejudice habit still lingers
unwanted thoughts & feelings often persist, making it very difficult to
overcoming “the prejudice habit”
when we try to not be prejudice, we usually just turn our attention
away from the person, therefore seeming prejudice & rude
the emotion-processing centre in the brain becomes more active
when a person views an unfamiliar person from another race
when people’s motivation to avoid prejudice in internal rather than
external, automatic prejudicial reactions can be reduced
PSYC 231: Chapter 11 - Sources of Prejudice
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