Stereotyping, Prejudice and Discrimination

GCSE Psychology comprehensive notes on everything from Unit 4 of AQA Psychology section.

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Psychology - Unit 4 ­ Stereotyping, Prejudice and Discrimination
Key Words
Stereotype: an oversimplified, generalised set of ideas that we have about
others, for example, all goths wear black and are suicidal.
Prejudice: a rigid set of attitudes or beliefs towards particular groups of
people. These attitudes are usually negative but not always.
Discrimination: the way an individual behaves towards another person or
group as a result of their prejudiced view. This behaviour is usually negative
but not always.
Authoritarian Personality: a personality type that is prone to being
F-Scale: the questionnaire used by Adorno to measure personality
Robbers Cave: the name given to Sherif's experiment on prejudice.
In-group: a group of people you believe you have something in common with,
for example, your psychology class.
Out-group: a group of people that you believe you have nothing in common
Jigsaw Method: the name given to the technique used by Aronson to reduce
prejudice within a group of mixed-race students.
Expert Groups: another name for the jigsaw method, it is called expert groups
because each member of the group becomes an expert in a particular topic,
passing this knowledge onto the rest of the group.
Contact: seeing, speaking or writing to someone.
Empathy: being able to put yourself in someone else's position
psychologically and understand how that person is feeling.
Williams and Best (1994)
Aim: To investigate the extent of sex stereotyping across 30 different
Method: Participants were given over 300 characteristics and asked to state
whether the characteristics were more likely to be associated with men,
women or both sexes.
Results: They found that across the 30 countries the same characteristics
tended to be with males, females. Females were described as `understanding',
`emotional' and `warm'. Males were described as `reckless', `hard-headed' and
Conclusion: The findings of this cross-cultural study suggest that there are
commonly held stereotypes of males and females.

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Rubin et al (1977)
Aim: To find out if new parents stereotype their babies.
Method: Parents were asked to describe their new babies within 24 hours of
the baby being born.
Results: They found that parents of baby boys described their babies as being
alert and strong, whereas parents of baby girls described their babies as soft
and delicate.
Conclusion: Parents stereotype their children from a very early stage despite
no stereotypical behaviour being shown.…read more

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Adorno (1950)
Aim: To find out if there is a relationship between a person's personality type
and prejudiced beliefs.
Method: Hundreds of people were interviewed and tested using the F-scale.
Results: They found a relationship between personality traits and prejudiced
Conclusion: There is an authoritarian personality and people with these
characteristics are highly likely to be prejudiced towards others.…read more

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Conclusion: Competition is a cause of prejudice.
Evaluation of Sherif's Robbers Cave Experiment:
The groups and competitions were artificial and so don't necessarily reflect
real life. As Sherif used 12 year olds, who were white and middle-class, the
results may not be generalised. As the boys were American, they shouldn't
really be applied to other nationalities.
An implication in real life would be that it demonstrates how easily
competition can occur between groups in competition.…read more

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Once Sherif had created the prejudice between the groups, his next aim was to
encourage a friendship between the boys. He did this by getting them to work
together to pull a truck out of the mud. He had previously tried bonding
activities, which failed. They needed to pull the truck out or they would miss
Aronson (2000)
Aronson developed the Jigsaw Method; he did this to reduce racial prejudice in
a school in Texas.…read more

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Sherif: This method may have only been successful because his groups and the
prejudice between them was artificially created. However, his method did
show that prejudice can be reduced to achieve a common goal.
Aronson: Aronson found that his jigsaw method did lead to a reduction in the
prejudice between each racial group. However, the positive perceptions of the
other racial groups were not generalised outside of the classroom.
Elliott: Elliott's research could be considered unethical as the children
suffered psychological stress.…read more


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