Psychology 2720A/B Chapter Notes - Chapter 9: Briey, Social Identity Theory, Ingroups And Outgroups

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Published on 16 Apr 2013
Western University
Psychology 2720A/B
Prejudice: a negative attitude toward members of a group, which is often very strongly
Discrimination: negative, harmful behaviour toward people based on their group
Genocide: an attempt to systematically eliminate an ethnic group through banishment
or murder
Prejudice and Discrimination Today
Aversive Racism: a “modern” kind of prejudice held by people who do not consider
themselves prejudiced and who would find any accusation of being prejudiced
aversive, but who nevertheless harbour some negative beliefs and hostile feelings
toward members of minority groups
Dovidio and Gaertner predicted that many majority group members would exhibit
discrimination toward minorities when the circumstances made negative justifiable,
thereby providing an excuse
Data suggest that some majority group members continue to harbour prejudice
against minority groups, but either lie about it when reporting their attitudes or perhaps
even deny it to themselves
Stereotypes: Cognitive Sources of Prejudice and Discrimination
One major contribution of social psychology to understanding prejudice has been to
identify common cognitive processes that can establish or maintain prejudice
Stereotypes “efficiently” provide us with information about target persons that can
guide behaviour; they allow us to make rapid inferences about target persons
Two Costs of Stereotypes: Oversimplification and Negativity
We may assume too much uniformity or similarity within groups of people,
especially with respect to large collections such as ethnic groups, nationalities,
genders, and occupations
Categories of humans tend not o be uniform or predictable
Stereotypes of large groups are oversimplified and, when applied to a particular
individual, often inaccurate
Although some stereotypes consist mainly of positive characteristics, other
stereotypes contain negative traits
Stereotypes that are often unfavorable fro several reasons, one being that
stereotypes may refer to groups that are believed to be competing with the
perceivers group for despite resources
There is also come evidence that being in a bad mood leads perceivers to interpret
their stereotypes of some minority groups more negatively
Negative emotions, then, can both elicit and intensify unfavorable stereotypes
People may label their anxiety as dislike for the group
Unfamiliarity and anxiety spill over into mistrust and hostility
Stereotypes Distort Information Processing
Stereotypes are oversimplified and excessively negative might not be so
problematic if we processed information in an unbiased way
Humans are not open and unbiased processors of information related to
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Stereotypes guide attention and interpretation in such as way as to increase the
probability that perceivers expectancies will be confirmed
Stereotypes Guide Attention
Stereotypes can distort information processing in several ways
One way is by affecting what perceives notice about members of the
stereotypes group
Generally, perceivers are sensitive to, and looking for, information that confirms
the stereotype
Consistent with Bodenhausen’s predictions, participants who believed the
defendant was Carlos Ramirez recalled a higher percentage of the evidence
that supported a guilty verdict than did participants who believed the defendant
was Robert Johnson
Stereotypes Guide Interpretation
Stereotypes 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
The Potential Vicious Cycle of Stereotypes
Our stereotypes provide a guide for how to behave toward other people
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 form the target person
Word and colleagues results determined that White and Black job applicants
were treated differently
Stereotypes can produce expectancies about a target individual, which can
then alter the perceivers actions in ways that elicit the expected behaviour from
the target
Self-fulfilling prophecies may often be damaging and harmful
Negative stereotypes can produce vicious cycles that perpetuate prejudice and
discrimination against disadvantaged groups
Targets may sometimes behave consistently with a negative stereotype simply
to maintain a smooth interaction
Do Stereotypes Influence Our Perceptions If We Disagree with Them?
When people agree with a stereotype it influences what they notice and how they
interpret behaviour
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
Devine found that exposure to words related to the stereotype of Black Americans
increased the perceived hostility of ambiguous behaviour for both prejudiced and
unprejudiced participants
Devines findings imply that there might be a general bias to interpret Black’s
actions as hostile, which will serve to reinforce the stereotype
Implicit Intergroup Bias
Implicit Intergroup Bias: distorted judgements about members of a group based
on a stereotype, which can occur without the person’s awareness
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Devine findings suggest that everyone may show implicit intergroup bias, even
those who disagree with a common stereotype
Some research also suggests that unprejudiced individuals actually seek out
information to disconform common stereotypes
Further there is evidence that people who exhibit weak or no implicit intergroup
bias also tend to behave in other positive ways toward the target group
Implicit intergroup bias can be reduced by deliberate attempts to be open-
Meta-Stereotype: a person’s beliefs about the stereotype that outgroup members
hold concerning his or her own group
Meta-stereotypes vary according to which particular outgroup is considered
Vorauer and her colleagues showed that meta-stereotypes influence people’s
expectations about their interaction with members of the outgroup
Emotional Sources of Prejudice and Discrimination
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
cent their frustration and disappointment
Perceived Competition and Prejudice: Realistic Group Conflict Theory
Realistic Group Conflict Theory: a theory proposing that when groups in society
are perceived to be competing with one another for resources, intergroup hostility
can be aroused, which leads to prejudice
Immigrants have been perceived to be competing directly with current residents fro
jobs and social benefits
Sometimes groups perceive not only competition for scarce resources from
members of outgroups, but also threats to important values
Self-Enhancement Motivation: Social Identity Theory
A third affecting relate factor in prejudice involves a potential positive emotional
benefit of derogating outgroups: feeling good about the self, or self-enhancement
Feeling superior to another person can be gratifying, because it indirectly confirms
one’s own worth
Self-enhancement happens not only at the individual level but also at the group
One important component of people’s identity is their group memberships
When people’s ingroup performs better than an outgroup, they report higher self-
esteem and more positive judgements of their own abilities
A Unifying Model: Integrated Threat Theory
Integrated Threat Theory: a theory proposing that prejudice results form four types
of threats: realistic threats, symbolic threats, threats stemming form intergroup
anxiety, and threats arising from negative stereotypes
Stephan and Stephan definition of each type of threat:
1. Realistic Threats - those emphasized by realistic group conflict theory
2. Symbolic Threats - refer to perceived threats to the ingroup’s important
attitudes, beliefs, and values
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