Psychology – Prejudice and Discrimination

Posted in Psychology on the 01.04.2012


= Negative attitudes towards any social group and its members

- Cognitive component (attitude)

- Emotional component (anger)

- Conative component (the intention of a certain type of behavior, discrimination)

(However, some theories do not include the last component)

Prejudice can lead to dehumanization, meaning that one takes from people their human dignity. This one does not have a problem with insect pests have no problems with damage ‘dehumanizing people. ”

Prejudice can also lead to mental health for the less exposed, in addition to the open violence and even murder.

In Western society produced this very negative, but we all have prejudices. They help us to categorize the world.

Prejudice can also lead to discrimination = negative behavior based on prejudice, but this is an opportunity – not a necessity.

- Most common causes of bias: age, gender and race each this is of course what psychological research has focused mostly on


= Gender-based prejudice and discrimination against people

- Focus aimed at prejudice and discrimination against women

- Studies show that both men and women (across cultures) believe men are more competent and independent, while women are caring and expressive

- Studies also show that being a housewife is regarded as feminine and the work is regarded as masculine à now that women start to work, the stereotype change or the professions they enter the losing status (such as engineering profession if the number of women trained to the )

- Far fewer women than men hold management positions

- These are stereotypes = shared and simplified assumption of a social group and its members

* Is often inaccurate

* Resistant to new information (we keep them even if we receive information that goes against them)

* Not necessarily emotionally charged and do not necessarily lead to discrimination

* Requires little work and gives little information à we do a lot of thinking and processing

* No correlation between knowing about the stereotypes and to even have them (with the exception of very strong stereotypes) à even if women are aware of stereotypes directed against them do not look at himself in the way

The maintenance of gender stereotypes

- The media contributes greatly to the maintenance of gender-based stereotypes

Face-sim/ansikts-isme – the media has tended to focus on men’s faces and less to their body, and vice verca for women

- Language: masculine noun (mankind) and occupations (fireman, stewardess)

- Attribution: when men succeed attributed this to the ability, as when women succeed attributed this to the situational factors (easy task, luck)

But this reversed if one focuses on the task, or if a woman makes a typically masculine task (achieve high management position)

Changes in sexism

- Today, gender discrimination was illegal, which means that there is much less than before

- Some studies have even shown that people tend to like women better than men

- But enough sexism still exist more subtle forms: Glick and Fishing found that sexist is “benevolent” attitudes to traditional women and hostile attitudes to non-traditional women

- The above findings apply to western countries, elsewhere in the world, women have low status and few rights


= Prejudice and discrimination against people based on their ethnicity or race

- Has been around for a long time and had major consequences, but the open racism has virtually disappeared in the West, each made illegal

- A new racism has emerged, however: ambivalent racism, symbolic racism, regressive racism, etc. à all these theories claim that people experience an inner conflict between antipathy above racial out-groups and expectations of society that one should not be prejudiced

- When these expectations from society experienced weaker, it is more likely to open racism occurs

Detecting racism

- New, subtle ways must be used to discover new, hidden racism

- Using the methods in which people do not know that they considered (see Chapter 5 for more thorough review of these methods to measure attitudes)

Social distance – how close, physically or mentally, you are willing to approach people from a racial out-group
“Hiding prejudices” – get prejudiced behavior not to seem prejudiced. Experiment: black and white offended white person, each person was allowed to give electroshock à gave stronger shocks to black, without these conditions observed the reverse effect (stronger for white)
Automatic cognition
Prejudice comes to the surface if you do not have time to think through the
Experiment: people were shown film of a black and white as an argument, and that either the white or black pushed to the other opposite the blacks’ behavior was interpreted aggressively, the whites were interpreted playful
Other experiments in which black / white was connected to the negative / positive words. There was no difference in the words that people associated with, but it took longer to connect responded with positive words and shorter time to connect them with negative words, each the length of time they spent is a measure of whether these attitudes existed in them or not
IAT – implicit association test (Chapter 5)
Priming – present racist words (negro, slave) so quickly that consciousness is not registered it, see if it affects the interpretation of subsequent stimuli

- Language – linguistic inter-group bias: tendency to use concrete language and talk about specific events when you speak positively as marginalized groups, racial, reverse when people speak negatively about them

- Body language – you can tell something about our attitudes and prejudices

- Racism is proving to be very ingrained among many people and hard to get rid

Age Discrimination

- Mitchell identified four age group stereotypes among people (due to aging, but also that they have grown up in different societies)

(1) traditionalists – born 1925-1945, practical, patient, hardworking, loyal, follow the rules

(2) “Baby Boomers” – born 1946-1960; optimistic, collaborative, ambitious, work, drug addicts

(3) Generation X – born 1961-1980, skeptical, independent, good balance between work and private life

(4) “Millennials” – born 1981-present; hopeful, world after work, change and diversity

- In cultures where extended families are common are the elderly viewed as wise and knowledgeable, whereas in Western cultures where nuclear families are common ages seen as relatively worthless and powerless (as well as vulnerable, selfish, sad, unhealthy, low social intelligence, etc. .)

- Age discrimination has come increasingly into focus in recent years, particularly interesting in communication between the generations, each show can see that there is very little communication between the older and younger


- American Psychiatric Association removed homosexuality from its list of mental illnesses until 1973

- Since the 1960s, has become more open and liberal gays above, although the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s has reduced the transparency of some

Prejudice / discrimination above disabled

- Throughout history, disability has become pretty de-humanized, used in the circus, abandoned, etc.

- Such discrimination has been illegally made in Western countries and are therefore much less than before (provision, Paralympics)

- There is, however, many do not know how to behave towards disabled people, each might seem like discrimination

- For the mentally handicapped is the case, however, quite different, each there are many prejudices against them, they receive little government support (destituering etc.)

- Such prejudice and discrimination hurts worse à worsen their situation further

Forms of Discrimination

Subtle forms of discrimination:

Reluctance to help

- Do not help the people of racial out-group, active or passive

- Individual level, organizational level or community level

- On most often when one can “blame” on something other than racism (others can help instead)

Symbolic measures (tokenism)

- Make members of a minority group of a small, trivial, almost symbolic service and then fail to help another (“I’ve done enough”)

- Can have a major impact on the community level à prevents equality

Reverse Discrimination

- Actively favoring members of minority groups rather than members of majority groups, each hide discrimination (gender)

- Can have a positive effect at the time, but in the long run it does not change deep-seated prejudices

- Can also lead to aggression from the majority group

- Difficult to know whether such actions are an honest effort to include minority, or whether it is reverse discrimination

Stigma and other effects of prejudice

Prejudices can have both mild and severe consequences for those exposed to it. Now let’s look at some of them:


= Group attributes / characteristics that have a negative value in a specific social context and leads to a negative evaluation by members of the group

- Stigmatized groups are subject to prejudice and discrimination

- Subjective experience of stigma depends on two factors: visibility / invisibility and controllability

(1) Visible stigma (race, obesity, gender) can not be hidden, and people with the stigma can not avoid being discriminated against, etc.

Only Hide / invisible stigma (homosexuality, disease, certain religions) can however be hidden. One can avoid discrimination and prejudice, but you have to hide who you really are, which can be difficult

(2) Controllable stigma (smoking, obesity, homosexuality, religion) leads to more prejudice and discrimination than uncontrollable stigma (gender, race), and people try therefore to avoid the stigma à but some of the stigma is in fact not their choice or check only (obesity )

- Stigma exists partly because it gives teams an opportunity for downward comparison, it justifies the status quo and it keeps track of people’s lives (easy to ignore the views that are different than their own if they belong to a stigmatized group)

- Evolutionary explanation: it’s cognitive adaptive functions, each helps us to stay away from partners who are less capable of reproduction / survival

Self worth, self-esteem and psychological well-being

- Stigmatized groups are devalued by society, and therefore can easily also begin to devalue themselves à poorer self-esteem and lower self-worth

- Applies to both discrete and open forms of discrimination, each affecting both

- Many members of minorities, however, find ways to avoid this and to maintain a positive self image

Stereotype threat (stereotype threat)

- Fear that one’s behavior will confirm an existing negative stereotype that causes you experience anxiety and nervousness so strong that it actually confirms this stereotype through our behavior (black and IQ / girls and mathematics)

- It is also observed “stereotype lift”, the reverse. Performance is improved because you are a member of a group of positive stereotypes

- Stereotype threat can be reduced by reducing the degree of identity linked to the task

Error and disadvantage

- People who experience prejudice against them is often not the same opportunities as other people in society due. discrimination (education, employment, housing, health) and can therefore not achieve the same performance as other

- This leads to loss of motivation

Lack of clarity in the attribution (attributional ambiguity)

- Stigmatized individuals are sensitive to others’ treatment of them

- There is an increasing uncertainty about others’ behavior (“she said hi to me because she likes me or because she does not want to seem racist in that I’m black?”)

- Many people tend to attribute positive behaviors to affirmative action, symbolic action + +

Self-fulfilling prophecy

- Expectations of a person’s behavior affects the way we treat the person, which in turn causes a person to change behavior (we think one person is superior, does not speak with the person and treat the person badly, and in return they are superior to back)

- Famous study by Rosenthal and Jacobson: IQ-tested children, teachers gave names of 20 “bloomers” (actually randomly brewing name) and saw that after a year, these improved IQ in relation to the other children, each teachers treated them differently

- But only 4% of our behavior can be attributed to others’ expectations of us

- Stereotype threat may also lead to self-fulfilling prophecy

Dehumanization, violence and genocide

- So far it has been focused on relatively subtle forms of discrimination, but the bias can also lead to very serious consequences

- People you have prejudices against can be seen as ugly, stupid, unreliable, crazy, evil, etc., each regarded as worthless does not deserve to be treated with respect

- Dehumanization means that deny people access to a community, and they throw out so that they lose their human self / uniqueness (higher cognition, morals, etc. that distinguishes us from animals) and human nature (feelings, heat, etc. that sets us apart from not -living beings), each treating these “people” like animals or things, violent (Ku Klux Klan, American soldiers in Abu Ghraib)

- When prejudice is morally accepted mass discrimination can occur (apartheid in South Africa and the racial divide between blacks and whites in the U.S.)

- Genocide is the most extreme consequences of prejudice (Stalin’s Soviet Union, 2nd Holocaust, Hutus and Tutsis in Rwanda in 1994). Also indirect types of genocide / ethnic death (Indigenous demise due. Lack of opportunity to live as before, alcoholism, etc., or by refusing cultures to live and speak as before disappearing through marriage, etc.)

Explanations of prejudice and discrimination

- Especially after the 2nd World War there was a need to explain the bias

- Previously it was believed that prejudice was innate, instinctive reactions, each theory is not supported by scientific methods

- But people seem to have an innate tendency to fear the unknown

Mere exposure effect – repeated exposure of the stimulus leads to increased positive attitude towards the stimulus

- Other (Tajfel) believe prejudice is learned: hatred and suspicion towards any group learned before children even know about the group. This provides a framework in which negative information later inserted

- How learning from parents to children is through observational learning, operant conditioning (parents show acceptance of racist attitudes, reluctance above empathetic attitude) or classical conditioning (play with African children (UBS) leads to nasty looks from parents (BS))

- Individual-oriented explanations:

* Personality and frustration-aggression

- Cognitive theories:

* Social comparison, trokongruens and social identity theory

- Socio-cultural theories:

* Relative deprivation and realistic conflict

- Discursive psychology:

* The role of language

Frustration-aggression hypothesis

- Dollard, 1939

- Claims that all frustration leads to aggression, and that all aggression comes from frustration (psychoanalytic point of view, the man has a certain amount of energy that should be at equilibrium, if too much, it must come through catharsis)

- Explains prejudice and intergroup aggression in that if someone is frustrated (for example, do not achieve goals) will be aggressive, but since the person who did that but was frustrated often not possible to confront (too powerful, inaccessible, difficult to pinpoint the (economy), someone you love) is aggression beyond the weak in society rather than (a simmering goat)

/ / Student from 1940 where it showed a negative correlation between the price of cotton and the number of lynching of blacks in the South American states in a 50-year period / /

- Displacement – psychodynamic concept that refers to the transfer of negative feelings to groups or individuals that originally caused the negative feelings

/ / Two groups of young men at summer camp, a group expected a night on the town while another group had no expectation. City tours were canceled and instead they had to do boring tasks. In the experimental group observed stereotypical attitudes of two minority groups, not in the control group / /

- Other research is more insecure, frustration caused by doing poorly on a task leads to both more and less and unadulterated racial prejudice. One has not seen any transmission from international to intra-national aggression (aggression towards others in the same country because it is not possible to show it to other countries)

- It’s hard to know if frustration is transferred to a scapegoat, or generalized to all

Miller suggested that it is transmitted when one has access to scapegoats similar to the original source of frustration, and generalized if we do not have it

- With Hindsight is easy to use explanatory model, but difficult to use it for prediction

- Research shows that not all frustration leads to aggression and that aggression can occur without frustration

- The theory operates with a fixed communication vacuum in which people happen to transfer his aggression to the same minority group without the use of cognitive ability actively

The authoritarian personality

- The first research carried out by Adorno et al. was “inspired” by fascism

- Claimed prejudices learned in childhood and becomes part of the personality when you grow up (due to authoritarian and punitive parenting)

- Personality Syndrome originating in childhood that predisposes individuals to be biased (and pessimistic above human nature and democracy, conservative economic and political attitudes, ethnocentric (= favor all aspects of in-group over out-groups))

- Used a questionnaire (F-scale) as measured fascist tendencies à recent authoritarian tendencies

- Criticism:

* Questionnaire enabled consenting responderingsmåte (= tend to agree with elements of an attitude survey; ambiguity if the high score achieved by agreeing with many items) and conformity bias (interviewers knew hypothesis)

* Pettigrew undertook a cross-cultural study: found that South Africans and Americans from the South were more biased than the Americans from northern states, although they had as authoritarian personality, each community also plays into

* Contact reducing racism (contact hypothesis) is not stable personality

* Does not explain attitudes among ethnic groups

Dogmatism and bigotry

- Theory of Rokech

- Building on the authoritarian personality, but rather focuses on cognitive style

- Assertive people have a cognitive style that is rigid and intolerant, and predisposes people to be biased

- Criticism: reduce prejudice an individual level, does not include socio-cultural context and norms influence

Right Oriented autoritærisme

- Recent theory that still have the authoritarian personality to do, but who have “cut out” the psychodynamic and personality aspect

- Autoritærisme is now regarded as a collection of attitudes with three components:

(1) Konvensjonalisme – stick to the conventions established by authority

(2) Authoritarian aggression – aggression towards the support of social deviants

(3) Authoritarian submission (submission) – submit to established authority

- Autoritærisme is according to this theory, an ideology that varies from person to person

- According to the theory achieved its place in a social hierarchy by exercising proper behavior (do as you’re tax collectors), and by opposing authorities will experience their wrath

- Maintains the status quo

Social dominance theory

- Claims that prejudice means that individuals accept an ideology that legitimizes the in-group-serving hierarchy and domination and rejects the egalitarian (equal promotion) ideologies

- Groups who are particularly keen to achieve social dominance over other groups, will resort to prejudice

- The theory has been refined to system justification theory (social justification theory) that claims of certain social conditions mean that individuals are trying to prevent change, nor justify and protect the status quo (possibly with the use of prejudice)

Trokongruens (Belief congruence)

- Congruence = compliance

- In addition to the theory of dogmatism also presented Rokeach belief congrugence theory which claims that human beings but congruent opinions and attitudes like each other better than people with inconsistent attitudes

- Prejudice occurs in other words, according to this theory, when you have belief systems that are in conflict

/ / Individuals are presented else who is either the same or different race, or who have the same or different attitudes as themselves. It turns out that they have more positive attitudes to those who have the same attitudes as myself, but you would rather bonded with (such as friendship) with those from the same race / /

- Criticism:

* The theory does not apply if the bias is already well established (Rwanda, Northern Ireland + +)

* The people who presented the subjects are so different that you only see them as individuals, not members of groups and excluded racial prejudices automatically each race seems to be more important than the attitudes

Social identity theory (ST)

- We categorizes, identifies, compares things in the world

- This is formed into and marginalized groups,

- Personality Vs. social identity

Social identity is the part of individual self that arises from one’s knowledge of membership in a social group, and its value and emotional significance to the membership

- Tajfel and Turner (1981): “Prejudice is an effect of favoring inngruppen”

- Classification in itself is enough to make discrimination

- Minimum group experiment: People know they are in Group A or B, even if they do not have contact with the other group will provide more money to people in their group than if you do not get to know you are in one of the groups

Relative deprivation

- Arises because we are experiencing a gap between what we expect and what we actually achieved

- Especially when we get or lose welfare

- Comparison between present and past

- J-curve hypothesis:

Rebellion / conflict occurs after a period in which living standards have risen, only to fall drastically
Example: Germany after 1 World

- Relative vs. Frater mentalistic relative deprivation

- Comparison with other groups: strong source of relative deprivation

- Runciman: superior groups feel deprived

Realistic conflict

- Sherif (1966): Competition for limited resources leads to conflicts and prejudices

Study of boys at summer camp

Random division into groups
Joint activity is known
Solidarity and identification with inngrupper
Division into two groups (get to know about the “other”)
The best one was familiar with the distinction
Competition and hostility to marginalized groups,
Competition between groups (developed much hostility)
Cooperation towards the overall goal (conflict is reduced)

Other explanations

- How individuals construct and use stereotypes

- Prejudice and discrimination as a natural part of behavior in groups

- These theories take a greater extent with how prejudice is a major part of the behavior at the group level