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Chapter 9

Chapter 9 Social Psychology.docx

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Psychology 2070A/B
Kelly Olson

Chapter 9: Stereotypes, Prejudice, and Discrimination  Prejudice: A negative attitude toward members of a certain group, which is often very strongly held (perceiver “prejudges” the target, disliking them based only on their group membership). o One possible consequence of prejudice is Discrimination.  Discrimination: Negative, harmful behaviour (i.e. aggression) towards people based on their group membership.  Whereas prejudice is an attitude, discrimination is behaviour. Discrimination can be a mild behaviour such as not talking to, or avoiding contact with members of a group; however, discrimination can also be a severe behaviour that leads a person to attempt to systematically eliminate an entire ethnic group, which is known as Genocide.  Stereotypes: Individuals’ beliefs that members of a group share particular attributes (can be negative OR positive). o Negative stereotypes can provide the basis of prejudice and discrimination. Prejudice and Discrimination Today  Compared to 20-30 years ago, there is much less discrimination; most Canadians are favourable towards minority groups.  Discrimination has been made illegal, and equal access has become mandatory policy for employers in the public and private sectors.  Social norms now censure (disapprove) prejudice, and people are less likely to express negative feelings publically. But some groups are sill victims of hate crimes.  Some people may feel negative towards a minority group, but try to avoid displaying discrimination. Also, some people may even be fooling themselves into thinking hey are unprejudiced, but in fact, they remain biased against members of disadvantaged groups.  In today’s age, blatant racial discrimination has been replaced by more subtle and ambiguous discrimination. o This new kind of discrimination is known as adverse discrimination.  Adverse Discrimination: A new “modern” kind of prejudice held by people who do not consider themselves prejudiced and who would find any accusation of being prejudiced aversive (disliked), but who nevertheless harbor some negative beliefs and hostile feelings towards members of minority groups. o In a study done by Dovido and Gaertner, there was interview being conducted by a participant for a position open between a black male and a white male. When their credentials were ambiguous (neither bad, nor better), 77% of the time, the white male was preferred over the black male. o This shows that discrimination still exists, even though the participant may not blatantly show it. o A more systematic way of testing prejudice, is by having a participant do an Implicit Association Test (IAT), that measures people’s automatic, implicit (unconscious, uncontrollable actions and thoughts). Facial EMGs can also be used as a physiological measure of prejudice (measures facial muscle movements). Stereotypes: Cognitive Sources of Prejudice and Discrimination  The key element in the cognitive view of prejudice is stereotypes. o Someone might believe that doctors are intelligent and compassionate, or that hockey players are strong and aggressive, and etc.  Stereotypes qualify as a kind of schema– namely, schemas that represent human groups  In chapter 3, we saw that schemas serve important functions for us: they allow us to sort objects into categories, to make assumptions about those objects, and thereby to impose meaning and predictability on our environment.  We called this process “going beyond the information given.” In the sense that we are inferring other, nonvisible characteristics about the object on the basis of our categorization. o Ex: We assume fire is hot without touching it. We have already categorized fire as hot from past experiences. Next time we will know its hot without touching it  In a much similar way, we make assumptions about people when we categorize them into groups BASED ON stereotypes. o Ex. When you recognize a woman as an RCMP officer, you can probably assume things as she wants to upload the law, she is armed, and will help you if asked to do so. These assumptions can be made quickly and effortlessly and will provide a solid basis for behavioural decisions. o Thus, stereotypes “efficiently” provide us with information about target persons that can guide behaviour. Two Costs of Stereotypes: Oversimplification and Negativity  Stereotypes can also have big costs associated with using them: oversimplification and excessive negativity.  1) First, we may assume too much conformity or similarity within groups of people, especially with respect to large collections such as ethnic groups, nationalities, genders, and occupations. o Outgroup Homogeneity Effect: The tendency for perceivers to overestimate the similarity within groups to which they do NOT belong.  I.e. Do you think all citizens of a particular country like Iran are all the same and fit under one similarity? o Categories of humans tend NOT to be uniform or predictable compared to categories of inanimate objects and plants.  I.e. Poison ivy plants will ALWAYS cause an itchy rash when touched; apples ALWAYS grow on trees; fire is ALWAYS hot.  In contrast, women are NOT always emotional; hockey players are NOT always aggressive; lawyers are NOT always wealthy. o Stereotypes of large groups are oversimplified and, when applied to a particular individual, are often inaccurate.  Stereotypes will not apply to everyone  2) Second cost of stereotype is that they are often unfavourable in tone. o Although some stereotypes have positive characteristics, other stereotypes contain negative traits o Why are stereotypes often unfavourable?  1) Competition  One reason is that they may refer to groups that are believed to be competing with the perceiver’s group for desired resources (i.e. an minority immigrant looking for a job).  2) Mood Differences  Also, being in a bad mood leads perceivers to interpret their stereotypes of some minority groups more negatively. (i.e. a close-knit minority immigrant community might be perceived as friendly and family-loving when the perceiver is happy; however, when in a bad mood, it might be perceived as cliquish or secretive; negative attitudes).  3) Unfamiliarity  Another reason that stereotypes are negative is that people may be unfamiliar with members of the targeted group, and feel anxious or uncomfortable when interacting with them; people may blame their anxiety as dislike for the group. This may lead into mistrust and hostility. Stereotypes Distort Information Processing  The fact that stereotypes are oversimplified and excessively negative might not be so problematic if we processed information in an unbiased way.  However, humans are NOT open and unbiased processors of information related to stereotypes.  Stereotypes (like other schemas) guide attention and interpretation in such a way to increase the probability that the perceivers’ expectancies will be confirmed. Stereotypes Guide Attention  One way stereotypes can distort information processing is by affect what perceivers notice about the members of the stereotyped group.  Generally, perceivers are sensitive to, and are looking for, information that confirms the stereotype (this is where the attention is directed to).  In case trial study, 2 suspects were brought and a group of participants were given the profiles of both suspects. However, before looking at the case materials, the participants were told one suspect’s description as white-American, and the other’s description as a Hispanic American. The latter fit the stereotype that Hispanics are generally dangerous people with drug wars and etc… This lead to the participants shifting their attention, paying more attention to the Hispanic’s evidence leading to a guilty charge compared to the White-American. Note that both suspect’s had equal degrees of evidence of being served guilty (one wasn’t more guilty than the other theoretically). Stereotypes Guide Interpretation  Stereotypes can also distort information processing by affecting how perceivers interpret the behaviour of people in the group.  Actions that are ambiguous will tend to be interpreted as consistent with expectations.  Example: Case-Study (LECTURE EXAMPLE) o Grade 6 students looked at drawings of Black and White models engaging in potentially aggressive behaviours (one bay took a pencil away from another without asking permission). The students of the case study saw that the actions were more aggressive when performed by a black model than a white model (this fits a common, damaging stereotype of blacks that they can be aggressive and hostile). o BOTH white and black students in the study thought this  Example: Stereotypes affect what we retrieve (LECTURE EXAMPLE) o Participants read essay describing the teenage years of a young woman o After the essay was removed, participants were told the woman was:  Heterosexual  Lesbian o Participants’ memory for information in the essay was then unexpectedly tested o Participants told she was heterosexual showed better recall of information consistent with this stereotype (i.e. wore makeup and dated in high school) o Participants told she was lesbian showed better recall of information consistent with this stereotype (i.e. felt closer to father than mother and did not enjoy dating)  In another study, participants’ interpretation of people was studied through video games. The participants had to decide to whether the opponent (white or black targets) in the video game was armed or unarmed, and if armed should be shot. o The stereotype was that the black targets would be more dangerous and armed. o It was seen that white participants were faster to judge correctly that the black targets were armed than to correctly judge if white participants were armed. Furthermore, participants were more likely to erroneously press “shoot” at unarmed black men. o This test was repeated with black participants, and the same effect was seen. Therefore, it could not have been prejudice or disliking of members that lead to shooting more unarmed black targets, but rather that stereotypes blocked the participants from interpreting the situation correctly. The Potential Vicious Cycle of Stereotypes  Another person’s behaviour may be affected in a way we initially respond to them; they will respond by confirming to the way you initially acted. o For example, when meeting a psychiatric patient, if you initially act anxious or scared, or protective, it might change the way the way the patient behaves towards you. Had you acted more relaxed, the patient could have acted more welcoming. Self-Fulfilling Prophecies  Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: A process in which a perceiver's expectancy about a target person influences the perceiver's behaviour toward the target person in such a way as to elicit the expected actions from the target person. o In other words, expecting another person to behave in a certain way, affects you to behave differently, and causes the other person to behave the way you thought they would behave. o The perceiver has acted in a way to make his or her own prophecy come true  Example: o (1) Work supervisor believes members of a group are lazy o (2) Treats members suspiciously and gives them little responsibility o (3) Members perceive they are disliked and do not work hard (act lazy)  Example: Mark Snyder et al., 1977 (LECTURE EXAMPLE – IMPORTANT) o Focused on stereotype of physically attractive people: they are assumed to be warm and sociable One male and one female university student participated in pairs. Did not meet face-to-face (different rooms) o Told that the study was investigating impression formation. Participants talked on an intercom. Male participants given photograph allegedly of their female partner (but not really). Photo was either low or high in physical attractiveness. o Females did not know the male had photo. Participants talked over the intercom for 15 minutes – a “get acquainted” conversation. o Each participant’s voice was recorded on a separate audio track o Judges later listened to each woman’s half of the conversation only and rated her for warmth, sociability. Judges were “blind”: they did NOT know which condition (attractive or unattractive photo) each woman was in o Results: Women who were interacting with a man who believed her to be physically attractive were rated as warmer and more sociable than women who were interacting with a man who believed her to be unattractive o Why? Man expected attractive woman to be warm, so he was warm himself, which elicited warmth from the woman!. This is an example of a positive stereotype (attractive people) eliciting favourable behaviour o The opposite can also occur: a negative stereotype can elicit unfavourable behaviour.  Note: If targets are aware of someone’s expectancies, they may work to disapprove it, especially when it is negative. o But in many cases, targets are unaware that perceivers have strong expectancies for them, which makes self-fulfilling prophecies more likely. o Also, targets may sometimes behave consistently with a negative stereotype, simply to maintain a smooth interaction. o Also, when individuals are aware that someone expects them to do poorly, their attempt to disconfirm the expectancy can sometimes hurt their performance (people sometimes can “choke” when trying to disprove a negative stereotype) Do Stereotypes Influence Our Perceptions If We Disagree with Them?  Subliminal Priming Procedure: A method of activating a schema or stereotype by flashing words or pictures very briefly on a computer screen in front of a participant. o At these fast exposure speeds, participants can only see a flash of light and cannot even say whether the presentation was a word. o However, it turns out that participants do perceive such stimuli subconsciously, and concepts related to the words or pictures become activated in memory.  Example: o In a presentation, half of participants were exposed to subliminal messaging of strong stereotypes of black Americans, and other half were exposed to neutral stereotypes of black americans (common stereotype was hostility). o After the presentation, participants completed a task in which they were given a written description of a young man (race unspecified) who engaged in actions that were ambiguous (could have been assertive, which is positive, or hostile, which is negative) o Participants who were primed by the presentation’s subliminal messaging rated the man more hostile, even if they were or weren’t prejudice against black Americans. o Therefore, participants can be primed to a certain stereotype towards a race without even knowing it (they could be normally unprejudiced towards the race). Implicit Intergroup Bias  This notion that stereotypes can automatically influence judgments without the perceiver’s awareness has been termed Implicit Intergroup Bias. Meta-Stereotypes  Meta-Stereotypes: A person’s beliefs about the stereotype that outgroup members hold concerning his or her own group.  For example, a white Canadian may believe that Aboriginal Canadians hold a negative stereotype of his or her group.  Meta-stereotypes may vary according to which particular group is considered (i.e. the above example maybe different if Asian Canadians are considered).  Can influence perceptions and behaviors just like stereotypes and can be favourable or non-favourable  If members of two groups interact who: (negative meta-stereotype) o Have negative stereotype of other group OR Think other group doesnt like them  There may be a vicious cycle of mistrust, disliking, and negative behaviour. Or, perhaps even more likely, the groups will avoid one another  NOTE: Meta-stereotypes influence people’s expectations about their interactions with members of the outgroup. o For example, people who believe that their group is viewed negatively by an outgroup, tend to anticipate unpleasant interactions with members of that outgroup  Relates to self-fulfilling prophecies. EMOTIONAL SOURCES OF PREJUDICE AND DISCRIMINATION  Emotional or motivational processes can contribute to prejudice and discrimination.  For example, prejudice sometimes results from negative emotions such frustration.  Prejudice may also sometimes satisfy basic motives, such as the need to evaluate the self positively. A: Frustration and Prejudice: Scapegoat Theory  Scapegoat Theory: A theory proposing that prejudice occurs because members of dominant groups use discrimination against members of weak target groups to vent their frustration and disappointment. B: Perceived Competition and Prejudice: Realistic Group Conflict Theory  When groups in society are believed to be competing with one another for such things as jobs, housing, political power, and health care, hostility can be aroused.  The competitive hostility can lead, in turn, to prejudice.  Realistic Group Conflict Theory: A theory proposing that when groups in society are perceived to be competing with one another for resources, intergroup hostility van be aroused, which leads to prejudice. o Ex: Pakistan and India competing over land, such as Kashmir. o Ex: Immigrants competing with current residents for jobs.  Sometimes groups perceive not only competition for scarce resources from members of outgroups, but also threats to important values.  People may believe that members of another group (i.e. Pakistani immigrants to Canada) bring with them a set of values and customs that threaten the status quo.  The cultural threat can produce intergroup anxiety, resentment, and prejudice. C: Self-Enhancement Motivation: Social Identity Theory  A third related factor in prejudice involves a potential positive emotional benefit of derogating outgroups: feeling goo
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