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Psychology 2720A/B CHP 9: Stereotypes, Prejudice & Discrimination

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Department
Psychology
Course
Psychology 2720A/B
Professor
Clive Seligman
Semester
Fall

Description
CHP 9: Stereotypes, Prejudice, and Discrimination - Prejudice: a negative attitude towards members of a group, which is often strongly held - Discrimination: negative, harmful behaviour toward people based on their group membership - Genocide: an attempt to systematically eliminate an ethnic group through banishment or murder PREJUDICE AND DISCRIMINATION TODAY - It is probably true that overt discrimination is less common today (though it still exists) - Social norms now censor prejudice, but some groups are still targets of hate crimes, also, some people have become more sophisticated at hiding their prejudice; they may feel negative but avoid displaying discrimination - People may be fooling themselves, thinking they are not prejudice when they really do have bias toward minorities o Implicit attitudes (chp 6) individuals’ automatic (often unconscious) judgments of a target – some people posses unfavourable implicit attitudes to groups but are not aware - Dovidio & Gaertner: “Old-fashioned” blatant discrimination has been replaced by subtle discrimination – majority group members have ambivalent, or conflicted, feelings toward minorities - Aversive Racism: a “modern” kind of prejudice held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 have some negative beliefs and hostile feelings towards minorities o Hypothesized to exhibit discrimination under some circumstances – like when circumstances made negative treatment justifiable, providing an excuse o E.g. study: tested blatant prejudice and discriminatory behaviour – found less explicit prejudice in 1999 compared to 1989 o When applicants qualities were strong, participants at both times recommended them regardless of whether they were black or white, when qualities were weak, they were both not recommended o When qualities were ambiguous participants recommended the white participant more than the black – effect in 1999 was just as strong (a bit stronger) than the effect in 1989 – thus, though less overt prejudice was found implicit prejudice stayed the same - Data suggests people may be lying or denying attitudes to themselves o Use indirect measures such as implicit association test or Facial EMG to help spot prejudice STEROTYPES: COGNITIVE SOURCES OF PREJUDICE AND DISCRIMINATION - Cognitive perspective suggests that prejudice is the by-product of “normal” human thinking process – key element to this view is stereotypes (beliefs that members of a group share particular attributes) - Most Canadians have well develop stereotypes of Anglophones and Francophones - Stereotypes qualify as one type of schema – schemas that represent human groups - Stereotypes “efficiently” provide us with information about a target that an help quickly guide behaviour Two Costs of Stereotypes: Oversimplification & Negativity - We may assume too much uniformity or similarity in groups (especially in ethnic groups/nationalities/genders/occupations) - Recall outgroup homogeneity effect – refers to the tendency for perceivers to overestimate the similarity within groups they do not belong o In contrast to categories of object/plants, categories of humans tend not to be uniform or predictable e.g. apples always grow on trees, hockey players are NOT always aggressive o Some stereotypes have a general kernel of truth but it will never apply to EVERYONE in the group – thus we frequently make false assumptions when relying on stereotypes - Second cost of stereotypes: they are often unfavourable – why? - They may refer to groups who are seen as to be competing with the perceiver’s group for resources - Also evidence that being in a bad mood leads perceivers to interpret their stereotypes of minorities as more negative – e.g. believing immigrants are close-knit might normally be seen as positive but in a bad mood they may interpret this as “secretive/cliquish” - Another reason: people may be unfamiliar with members of the target group and feel anxious or uncomfortable when interacting with them; then label this anxiety as dislike for the group Stereotypes Distort Information Processing - Erroneous views will be corrected if the perceiver remains open to new information – unfortunately, humans are not open and unbiased when it comes to processing information about stereotypes - Stereotypes guide attention/interpretation in such a way as to increase the probability that the perceivers’ expectancies will be confirmed Stereotypes Guide Attention. - Stereotypes distort information processing by affecting what is noticed about members of a stereotyped group o Perceivers are sensitive to, and look for, info that confirms stereotype o Very unexpected info can also grab our attention under certain circumstances - Stereotypes bias attention e.g. simulated courtroom setting – information provided to Ps was mixed (guilty and nongulity) – common stereotype of Hispanic Americans is that they are more aggressive – participants who thought defendant was Mexican might focus more on evidence suggesting aggression – stereotype worked to increase Ps attention to evidence o This has disturbing implications for the legal system because someone was judged more harshly based solely on race Stereotypes Guide Interpretation. - Stereotypes distort information processing by affecting how perceivers interpret behaviour of others - Ambiguous actions will tend to be interpreted as consistent with expectations – behaviours that do not necessarily support stereotype may still strengthen it - Researchers showed gr6 boys drawings of black & white models displaying aggressive behaviour – actions were rated as more threatening and less playful when preformed by a black model – this effect was equally strong for black and white Ps o Concluded that differential interpretations reflected knowledge of cultural stereotypes rather than personal prejudice - Video game procedure: Ps were faster to judge correctly that Black targets were armed and slower to judge correctly that blacks were unarmed o Another aspect of the results: participants were more likely to shoot an unarmed target if they are black, and more likely to NOT shoot an armed white o Even black participants made these errors o Errors probably occurred b/c stereotypes distorted how the situation was interpreted, not because of prejudice - Another example: both black and white children tend to choose white dolls - Another example w/aboriginals: consistent pro-light bias for all types of objects. Children of both racial groups have internalized general societal preference for light-coloured objects SOCIAL PSYCH IN YOUR LIFE: The shooting of Amadou Diallo The Potential Vicious Cycle of Stereotypes - Stereotypes provide a guide for how to behave towards others – stereotype of paranoid schizophrenic patients includes such things as unpredictable, strange, hostile, and possibly dangerous - Is it possible patient’s behaviour could be influences by your behaviour? - Irony is that behaviour might be affected in such a way as to confirm what you expected: they might react in a hostile manner and confirm your expectations that they are unpredictable/dangerous 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 - Stereotype about a group  expectancies about target  specific behaviour toward person  expected behaviour from target  confirms stereotype - E.g. Ps gave job interviews to confederates who were trained in how to respond – white interviewers treated white and blacks differently – whites interviews lasted longer, had more “immediacy” (eye contact, forward body lean) - 2 experiment – to test whether this performance would influence real applicants – judges rated performances of applicants with longer more personal interviews as significantly better – thus the different treatment produced different effects - Self-fulfilling prophecies can be harmful e.g. expecting members of a group to be unfriendly may make them that way – produces vicious cycles - If target is aware of someone’s expectancy for them, they may work to disprove it, especially when stereotype is negative o In many cases targets are unaware – which makes self-fulfilling prophecies more likely – also targets may sometimes behave consistently with a negative stereotype simply to maintain smooth interaction o People sometimes “choke” when trying to disprove a negative stereotype about their group Do Stereotypes Influence Our Perceptions If We Disagree With Them? - E.g. recipients of welfare – thought to be lazy (most common trait), unintelligent and dishonest (cheating the system) - When people agree with a stereotype its not surprising that it influences what they notice/how they interpret behaviour – what about when someone knows a stereotype but does not believe in it? - 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 Ps can only see a flash of light and cannot even tell whether it’s a word o Perceive content subconsciously and concepts related to words/pictures become activated in memory - Devine - exposed Ps to Negroes, ghettos, and blues – thought that common stereotype of black men was that they are hostile, also assumed almost all participants would be aware of this, whether or not they agree - Ps then rated a description of a (ambiguous raced) man doing ambiguous things on hostility – Ps exposed to subliminal priming rated the man as more hostile – important to note that words used were not directly related to hostility, hostility was activated indirectly from stereotype o Even people who do not consciously endorse the stereotype (unprejudiced Ps) were vulnerable to priming effects Implicit Intergroup Bias. - Implicit Intergroup Bias: distorted judgments about members of a group based on a stereotype, which can occur w/o the person’s awareness o Implicit because it is not deliberate and may be unrecognized by perceiver, it is intergroup bias because it reflects distorted, usually unfavourable judgments of an outgroup o Similar to negative implicit attitudes – spontaneous negative feelings o Findings suggest everyone may show some implicit intergroup bias, even those who disagree with a common stereotype - Different conclusions: study found Canadian students who were low-prejudiced and white showed no evidence at all of implicit intergroup bias against blacks – high-prejudiced individuals did - Research also suggests unprejudiced individuals actually seek out info to disconfirm common stereotypes – evidence that people who exhibit weak/ no bias tend to behave in other positive ways towards the group - Also evidence that implicit intergroup bias can be reduced by deliberate attempts to be open minded – instructing Ps to be “as unprejudiced as possible” significantly reduced implicit intergroup bias against blacks on a subsequent task Meta-Stereotypes - Meta-stereotypes: a person’s beliefs about the stereotype that outgroup members hold concerning his/her group o E.g. a white Canadian may think that aboriginal Canadians hold a negative view of whites – meta- stereotypes vary according to which outgroup is considered, they may believe Asian-Canadians hold a different stereotype then aboriginals do - Vorauer - surveyed white psych students, found there was agreement among participants on how whites were viewed by aboriginals i.e. unfair, materialistic, egocentric, selfish, close-minded – these may not be how aboriginals actual views whites, it just how whites believe they are being viewed - Meta-stereotypes influence peoples expectations about their interacts with members of the outgroup e.g. people who believe their group is view negatively by another tend to anticipate unpleasant interactions – connected to idea of self-fulfilling prophecy EMOTIONAL SOURCES OF PREJUDICE AND DISCRIMINATION - Several (non-cognitive) emotional or motivational processes that contribute to prejudice and discrimination o E.g. prejudice sometimes results from negative emotions (frustration, anger, hostility) or may satisfy basic motives such as need to evaluate the self positively - Four theoretical models: Frustration and Prejudice: Scapegoat Theory - People become frustrated during difficult economic times and vent their frustration on weak, scapegoat targets - Prejudice involves dominant group “lashing out” at subordinate groups because of frustration/disappointment - Scapegoats: had little or no direct role in causing the frustration, but provide a convenient target for blame - Scapegoat theory: a theory proposing that prejudice occurs because members of dominant groups use discrimination against members of weak groups to vent frustration - Hovland & Sears: examined correlation between the number of lynching of blacks in the south and prices of cotton (1882-1930) – hypothesis: blacks became targets when cotton prices were low – found a significant negative correlation: prices went down, lynching went up - Another example: Jews in Nazi Germany – Hitler claimed they had too much power blaming them for depression which provided an excuse for some Germans to vent frustrations against Jews Perceived Competition and Prejudice: Realistic Group Conflict Theory - Shares some elements with frustration model, focuses on perceived competition between groups for scarce resources - Realistic group conflict Theory: a theory proposing that when groups in society are perceived to be competing with one another, hostility can be aroused, which can lead to prejudice - E.g. prejudice against immigrants – immigrants are seen as competing directly with current residents for jobs and social benefits - Esses: studied attitudes towards immigrants for many years and has concluded that perceived competition from immigrants from jobs, health care, and other resources often leads people to oppose open, lenient immigration policies - Famous demonstration by Sherif: Robber’s Cave experiment – two groups of 11 y/o boys learned they would be competing against each other in sporting events for prizes – substantial hostility/prejudice was expressed almost immediately, boys engaged in “discriminatory behaviour” (such as stealing from other group) - Sometimes perceivers also see threats to important values – members of an outgroup may bring values and customs that threaten the status quo, competition is symbolic rather than economic - E.g. the more gay men and lesbians were perceived to violate matters such as the traditional meaning of family and marriage, the more negative attitudes towards these groups were Self-Enhancement Motivation: Social Identity Theory - Potential positive emotional benefit of derogating outgroups: feeling good about the self/self enhancement - If a person is evaluated negatively, the pe
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