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Stereotypes, Prejudice, Discrimination, Attitudes, Persuasion, and Conformity

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Stereotypes, Prejudice, and Discrimination

Racism: Prejudice and discrimination based on a person’s racial background, or institutional and cultural practices that promote the domination of one racial group over another

Sexism: Prejudice and discrimination based on a person’s gender, or institutional and cultural practices that promote the domination of one gender over another.

Stereotype: A belief or association that links a whole group of people with certain traits or characteristics.

Prejudice: Negative feelings towards persons based on their membership in certain groups.

Discrimination: Behavior directed against persons because of their membership in a particular group.

Modern Racism: A form of prejudice that surfaces in subtle ways when it is safe, socially acceptable and easy to rationalize.

Implicit Racism: Racism that operates unconcsciously and unintentionally.

Children tend to show biases based on race. Even before they understand or know what racism is.

Metastereotypes: Thoughts about the outgroups stereoptypes about them, and worry about being seen as consistent with these stereotypes

Ambivalent Sexism: A form of sexism chatacterized by attitudes about women that reflect both negative, resentful beliefs and feelings and, affectionate and chivalrous, but potentially patronizing beliefs and feelings

The media tends to objectify women to portray them more as objects rather than human beings.

Stigmatized: Being persistently stereotyped, perceived as deviant and devalued in society because of membership in a particular social group or because of a particular characteristic.

Stereotype Threat: The experience of concern about being evaluated based on negative stereotypes about one’s group.

An African American student is likely to perform worse on an athletic task if the task is described as one reflecting sports intelligence than if it is described as reflecting natural athletic ability.

Social Categorization: The classification of persons into grouups on the basis of common attributes

Ingroups: Groups with which an individual feels a sense of membership, belonging, and identity

Outgroups: Groups with which an individual does not feel a sense of membership, belonging, or identity.

Outgroup Homogeneity Effect: The tendency to assume that there is greater similarity among members of outgroups rather than among members of ingroups.

Social Dominance Orientation: A desire to see one’s ingroup as dominant over others groups and a willingness to adopt cultural values that facilitate oppression over other groups.

System Justification Theory: A theory that proposes that people are motivated (at least in part) to defend and justify the existing social, political, and economic conditions.

Stereotype Content Model: A model proposing that the relative status and competition between groups influence group stereotyes along the dimensions of competence and warmth.

Superordinate Goal: A shared goal that can be achieved only through cooperation among individual groups.

Realistic Conflict Theory: The theory that hositility between groups is caused by direct competition for limited resources.

Relative Deprivation: Feelings of discontent aroused by the belief that one fares poorly compared to others.

Ingroup Favoritism: The tendency to discriminate in favor of ingroups over outgroups.

Social Identity Theory: The theory that people favor ingroups over outgroups in order to enhance their self-esteem.

Subliminal Presentation: A method of presenting stimuli so faintly or rapidly that people do not have any conscious awareness of having been exposed to them.

Contact Hypothesis: The theory that direct contact between hostile groups will reduce intergroup prejudice under certain conditions.

A study by Kristin Davieson cross-group friendships show that the attitudes and behaviors toward outgroup memebers were more positive.


Attitude: A positive, negative, or mixed reaction to a person, object or idea.

Attitudes are measured through self report, Covert Measures, and Implicit Association Tests (IATs)

Attitude Scale: A multiple-item questionnaire designed to measure a person’s attitude toward some object.

Bogus Pipeline: A phony lie detector device that is sometimes used to get respondents to give truthful answers to sensitive questions.

Facial Electromyograph (EMG): An electronic instrument that records facial muscle activity associated with emotions and attitudes.

Implicit Attitudes: An attitude, such as prejudive that one is not aware of having.

Implicit Association Test (IAT): A covert measure of unconscious attitudes derived from the speed at which people respond to pairing of concepts - such as black or white with good or bad.

How Attitudes are Formed

One hypothesis poses that strong likes and dislikes are rooted in our genetic makeup.

Evaluative Conditioning: The process by which we form an attitude toward a neutral stimulus because of its association with a positive or negative person, place, or thing.

Theory of Planned Behavior: The theory that attitudes toward a specific behavior combine with objective norms and perceived control to influence a person’s actions.

Persuasion: The process by which attitudes are changed.

Central Route to Persuasion: The process by which a person think carefully about a communication and is influenced by the strength of its arguments.

Peripheral Route to Persuasion: The process by which a person does not think carefully about a communication and is influenced instead by superficial cues.

Elaboration: The process of thinking about scrutinizing the arguments contained in a persuasive communication.

Attributes influencing The Source Persuasion:

  • Credibility
  • Likeability
  • “When what you say is more important than who you are”

The Sleeper Effect: A delayed increase in th persuasive impact of a non-credible source.

Messages in Persuasion

  • Informational Strategies
  • Message Discrepancies
  • Fear Appeals
  • Positive Emotions
  • Subliminal Messages

The Audience in Persuasion

The Need for Cognition: A personality variable that distinguishes people on the basis of how much they enjoy effortful cognitive activities.

  • The need for Cognition
  • Self-Monitoring
  • Regulatory Fit
  • Forewarning and Resistance

Inoculation Hypothesis: The idea that exposure to weak versions of a persuasive argument increases later resistance to that argument

Psychological Reactance: The theory that people react against threats to their freedom by asserting themselves and perceiving the threatened freedom as more attractive.

Cognitive Dissonance Theory

Cognitive Dissonance theory: The theory holding that inconsistent cognitions arouses psychological tension that people become motivated to reduce.

Insufficient Justification: A condition in which people freely perform an attitude discrepant behavior without receiving a large reward.

Insufficient Deterrence: A condition in which people refrain from engaging in a desirable activity, even when only mild punishment is threatened.

Alternative Routes to Self Persuasion

Self Perception Theory

Impression Management Theory: What matters is not a motive to be consistent, but a motive to appear consistent.

Self Esteem Theories: People will change their attitudes if it can bolster their self-esteem.

Conformity and Compliance

Conformity: The tendency to change our perceptions, opinions, or behavior in ways that are consistent with group norms.

Informational Influence: Influence that produced conformity when a person believes others are correct in their judgements.

Normative Influences: Influence that produces conformity when a person fears the negative social consequences of appearing deviant.

Why do People Conform?

  • A need to be right
  • Fear of ostracism
Distinguishing types of conformity

*Private Conformity: The change of beliefs that occurs when a person privately accepts the position taken by others.

Public Conformity: A superficial change in overt behavior without a corresponding change of opinion that is produced by real or imagined group pressure.

Minority Influence: The process by which dissenters produce change within a group.

Idiosyncrasy Credits: Interpersonal credits that a person earns by following group norms.

Individualism: A cultural orientation in which independence, autonomy, and self-reliance take priority over group allegiances.

Collectivism: A cultural orientation in which interdependence, cooperation, and social harmony take priority over personal goals.

Compliance: Changes in behavior that are elicited by direct requisites.

The Norm of Reciprocity: Dictates that we treat others the way they have treated us.

Foot-In-The-Door: A two-step compliance technique in which an influencer sets the stage for the real request by first getting a person to comply with a smaller request.

Lowballing A two-step compliance technique in which the influencer secures agreement with a request but then increases the size of that request by revealing hidden costs.

Door-In-The-Face: A two-step compliance technique in which an influencer prefaces the real request with one that’s so large that it is rejected.

That’s-Not-All Technique: A two-step compliance technique in which the influencer begins with an inflated request and then decreases its apparent size by offering a discount or bonus.

Obedience: Behavior change produced by the commands of authority.

Social Impact Theory: The theory that social influence depends on the strength, immediacy, and number of source persons relative to target persons.