Chapter Eleven: Stereotyping, Prejudice, and Discrimination

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University of Massachusetts Amherst
Psychology & Brain Sciences
John Bickford

Social Psychology Chapter Eleven: Stereotyping, Prejudice, and Discrimination Characterizing intergroup bias: Stereotypes are beliefs that certain attributes are characteristic of members of particular groups. Prejudice refers to the attitudinal and affective response toward a certain group and its individual members. Discrimination refers to negative or harmful behavior directed toward members of particular groups. Involves unfair treatment of others, treatment based not on people’s character or abilities, but on their membership in a group. Modern racism: Rejection of explicitly racist beliefs while maintaining an enduring suspicion of discomfort with or animosity toward African-Americans.  When alone or in no view of anyone else, people are more inclined to help out black people that need help over white people BUT when there are people in plain view, people are more inclined to help white people over black people. Measuring attitudes about groups: Many surveys and polls are out there attempting to gauge individual feelings and judgments towards others but in many cases some may not feel confident in sharing their true feelings in the setting provided. To prevent feelings of uneasiness, social psychologists have created these newer tests;  The Implicit Association Test (IAT) o Created by Anthony Greenwald ad Mazarin Banaji o Technique for revealing nonconscious prejudices toward particular groups. o A series of words or pictures are presented on a computer screen, and the respondent is told to press a key with the left hand if the picture or word forms to one rule, and to press another key with the right hand if it conforms to another rule. o Unconscious prejudices are captured by the difference between the average time it takes to respond.  Example: when determining whether or not someone is prejudiced against old people you could determine so by looking at the difference in average time it takes to respond to old faces/positive words and the average time it takes to respond to old faces/negative words.  Priming and Implicit Prejudice o Priming refers to procedures used to increase the accessibility of a concept or schema. o Logic behind it: if I show you the word “butter” and then ask you to tell me, as quickly as you can, whether a subsequent string of letters is a word, you’ll recognize that “bread” is a word more quickly than you’ll realize that “car” is a word because of your preexisting association between bread and butter. o Numerous studies using priming methods have shown that people often have subtle prejudices against various target groups that they would steadfastly deny having. The economic perspective: From an economic standpoint, groups develop prejudices about one another and discriminate against each other when they compete for material resources. Realistic group conflict theory: Acknowledges that groups sometimes confront real conflict over what are essentially economic issues. Prejudice and discrimination often arise from competition over limited resources.  Prejudice and discrimination should increase under conditions of economic difficulty. This theory also predicts that prejudice and discrimination should be strongest among groups that stand to lose the most from another group’s economic advance.  Example: People in the working class in the United States exhibited the most anti-black prejudice during the civil rights movement because working class jobs were now at risk once millions of black Americans were allowed to compete more freely for these jobs. Ethnocentrism or glorifying one’s own group while vilifying other groups, is likely to play out. The robbers cave experiment: Muzafer Sherif (1954),  Twenty-two fifth grade boys were taken to Robbers Cave State Park in Oklahoma.  Boys had signed up for a summer camp that was actually a study of intergroup relations.  All were “average” boys – split into two groups of eleven and taken to separate areas of the park, at first both the groups were unaware of the other group.  First phase, the groups took part in typical camp activities that fostered group cohesion and eventually “effective initiators” (those that offered ideas and the rest of the group went along with it)  Second phase, both of the groups were brought together to take part in a tournament. Each member of the winning team would receive a medal and a pocket knife. The effort to bring about competition between the two groups worked – the groups slandered one another, started food fights, burned/stole each other’s flags and even physical fights were started.  Third phase, devoted to assessing ways to reduce the conflict between the two groups. The researchers set up tasks in order to have the members of both groups work together. o Superordinate goals are goals that could not be achieved by either group alone but could be accomplished by both working together.  Overall, friendships formed between members of different groups and the animosity went away. The motivational perspective: Intergroup hostility can develop merely because another group exists; no previous confrontation is necessary. The minimal group paradigm: Pioneered by Henri Tajfel, this refers to an experimental paradigm in which researchers create groups based on arbitrary and seemingly meaningless criteria and then examine how the members of these “minimal groups” are inclined to behave toward one another.  Participants perform a trivial task and then are put into groups based on their “answers” (actually, put into groups at random).  Then, participants are put into a cubicle and are told to assign points, redeemable for money, to successive pairs of their fellow participants. o Example: Assign points to “Number four of the overestimate group” and “Number two of the underestimate group.”  Experiments show that the majority of participants are interested more in maximizing the relative gain for members of their ingroups than in maximizing the absolute gain for their ingroup. No matter how minimal the situation is, they still exhibit a tendency to favor their minimal ingroup. Social identity theory: Tajfel and Turner’s theory that states that a person’s self-concept and self-esteem derive not only from personal identity and accomplishments but also from the status and accomplishments of the various groups to which the person belongs.  Example: With being an American comes the pride of us being an American with our athletes, bill of rights, constitution and declaration of independent. But, also with being an American comes the shame of slavery and treatment of Native Americans. Basking in reflected glory, the tendency for people to take pride in the accomplishments of those with whom they re in some way associated.  Example: when fans identify with a winning team. Frustration-aggression theory: Elaborates the idea the frustration leads to aggression. From generalized to t
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