Stereotyping, prejudice and discrimination


Stereotpying - Williams and Best (1994)

Aim: Extent of sex stereotyping across 30 different countries. 

Method:                                                                                                                                  -Given over 300 characteristics.                                                                                                -Asked to state whether the characteristics were more likely to be associated with men, women or both sexes. 

Results:                                                                                                                                   -Found out that across the 30 countries the same characteristics tended to be associated with males & females.                                                                                                                     -Females described as understanding, emotional and warm.                                                         -Males described as reckless, hard headed and determined. 

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 stereotpye their babies.                                                               

Method: Parents were asked to describe their new babies within 24 hours of the baby being born. 

Results:                                                                                                                                  -Parents of baby boys described their babies as being alert & strong.                                           -Parents of baby girls described their babies as soft & delicate. 

Conclusion:                                                                                                                              -Parents stereotype their children from a very early stage despite no stereotypical behaviour being shown.                                                                                                                                     -Parents who know the sex of their baby prior to birth, this stereotpying behaviour starts before the baby is born by painting a room pink for a girl ans blue for a boy. 

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Prejudice - Barrett and Short (1992)

Aim: Development of prejudice amoung young children. 

Method:                                                                                                                                  -Interviewed 216 English children ages between 5 - 10 years old and were asked there opinions on people from different European countries. 

Results:                                                                                                                                  -At this age, children already demonstrated more positive views towards some European groups than to others.                                                                                                                          -Germans = least liked WHILE French = liked the most, despite the children having no factual information on these nationalities. 

Conclusion: By the age of 10, children already hold prejudiced views towards other nationalities. 

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Authoritarian personality - 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 prejudicded views. 

Conclusion: There is an authoritarian personality and people with these characterstics are highly likely to be prejudiced towards others. 

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Evaluation for the study Adorno

Many criticisms: 

-Doesn't explain why people are prejudiced towards some groups but not others.  

-Difficult to provide evidence to support the idea that parenting style contributes to an authoritarian personality. Evidence for this relies on people's memories, which are not always reliable or accurate. 

-The research was done in America, so can it be applied corss-culturally. 

-Adorno only found that there was a relationship (correlation)  between personality type and prejudice. This cannot show cause and effect. 

Despite these criticisms, Adorno's research led the way for other psychologists to develop their theories. 

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Sherif (1961)

Aim: Prejudice develops when groups are in competition for scarce resources. 

Method:                                                                                                                                  -American summer camp was organised for 22 boys.                                                                  -Randomly split into two teams and the teams were kept away from each other.                            -They were not aware that the other team existed.                                                                      -Boys were given time to settle into their camps and form a group identity.                                   -After a while, groups saw each other and the camp staff introduced a series of competitions with the price for the winning team being a silver cup. 

Results: Very quickly, the teams began unpleasant name-calling towards each other and tried to attack each other. 

Conclusion: Competition is a cause of prejudice. 

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Evaluation for the study Sherif

-The groups and competitions were artificial so don't necessarily reflect real life.

-He used 12 year old, white, middle-class boys so should the results be generalised to females, other ages and other social classes? 

-Boys were American, therefore we should be more careful when generalising to other nationalities. 

-It has real life implications. 

-It showed how quickly people form alliances with others when they feel they have something in common with them. It also showed how quickly they can turn against others they see as being different to themselves. 

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Levine (2002)

Aim: If people believed they had a relationship with a stranger, they would be more likely to help them. 

Method: Situation was set up and a stuntman fell over infront of Manchester United fans. Half the time he was wearing a Manchester United shirt and the rest of the time he was wearing a Liverpool shirt. 

Results:                                                                                                                                  -When he was weaing a Manchester United shirt = helped up to his feet every time.                       -Liverpool shirt = left to help himself every time. 

Conclusion: When we feel we have something in common with others, we are more likely to help them. We are less likely to help out-group members. 

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Tajfel (1970)

Aim: Easily people discriminate against their out-groups. 

Method:                                                                                                                                  -14-15 boys were randomly assigned to two groups.                                                                     -Each boy was given a game to play where he had to award pairs of points.                                   -They were told that points could be swapped for prizes at the end. 

Results:                                                                                                                                  -Boys awarded points by choosing the pairings that created the biggest difference between the groups, not the pairings that gave them the most points.

Conclusion: People will discriminate against others just because they are members of an out-group.                                                                                                                                    

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Evaluation for the study Tajfel

-Only used 14-15 year old boys so we should not generalise the resultd to females and other ages. 

-Groups were artificially created so this doesn't reflect real life. 

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Elliot (1970)

Aim: To teach her class what it felt like to be victims of discrimination. 

Method:                                                                                                                               Elliot told her class the following:                                                                                       -Blue eyed children are smarter than those with brown eyes.                                                     -Blue eyed children are the best people in the room.                                                               -Brown eyed children cannot play with blue-eyed children in the playground because they are no as good. 

Results:                                                                                                                               -Reaction of the children to these statements was immediate.                                                   -Blue eyed children = delighted, arrogant and became vicious.                                                   -Brown eyed children = angry, saddened, confused and withdrawn.                                           -Fights broke out in the playground between children who had been best friends the day before.   -Following day Elliot reversed the experiment and found out that brown eyed children behaved in the same arrogant way that the blue eyed children had the previous way. Similarly, the blue eyed children became withdrawn and sad. 

Conclusion: Elliot believed that, by getting the children to experience first hand what it felt like to be victims of prejudice and discrimination, these children would grow up being more tolerant towards others.

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Harwood (2003)

Aim: Investigate children's views of the elderly. 

Method:                                                                                                                                  -Asked children and their grandparents about their relationships.                                                  -Children were also questioned about their views of elderly people in general.  

Results: Children who had regular contact with grandparents held positive views towards the elderly. 

Conclusion: Contact with grandparents is a good predictor of a child's attitude towards the elderly. 

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Evaluation for the study Sherif

-Sherif's method may only have been sucessful because his groups and the prejudice between them were artificially created. 

-However, the method did show that, if two groups work together to achieve a common goal, prejudice can be reduced. 

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Evaluation for the study Aronson

-Jigsaw method did lead to prejudice between the racial groups being reduced. However, the prejudice perceptions of the other racial groups were not generalised outside of the classroom. `

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Aronoson (2000)

Aronson was given the task of eliminating prejudice between black and white students in a school in Texas, USA. He developed a technique called the jigsaw method, which involved the students being in mixed-race groups, each taking responsibility for a part of the lesson. They had to become experts on their part and then pass on this knowledge to another group of students within the class. The technique proved sucessful because each student was responsible for their own learning as well as that of others. Aronson interviewed the students afterwards and found that this method had:        -Enchanced their self-esteem.                                                                                                  -Increased their liking of their classmates.                                                                                  -Improved their perceptions of the other racial group within the class. 

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Evaluation for the study Elliot

- considered unethical as the children suffered from psychological stress.                                       -However, when she contracted the students 9 years later, they were more tolerant and showed more empathy towards others, than children who had not experienced her lesson. 

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Evaluation for the study Harwood

Information gathered from interviews is not always reliable. There are children who don't have regular contact with grandparents but still have positive attitudes towards the elderly. 

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