Unit one: stereotyping, prejudice and discrimination


Sex stereotyping- Williams and Best (1994)

Aim: To investigate the extent of stereotyping across 30 different countries.

Method: Participants were given over 300 characteristics and asked to state whether the characteristics were more likely to be associated with women, men or both sexes.

Results: It was found that across the 30 countries the same characteristics tended to be associated with males and females. Females were desscribed as 'understanding', 'emotional' and 'warm'. Males were descibed as 'reckless', 'hardheaded' and 'determind'.

Conclusion: There are commonly held stereotypes of males and females.

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Sex stereotyping 2- Rubin et al. (1977)

Aim: To find ot if new parents stereotype their babies.

Method: Parents were asked to describe  their new babies within 24 hours after they have been born.

Results: Parents of bab boys decribed their babies as being 'alert' and 'strong', wheras parents of baby girls described their babies as 'soft' and 'delicate'.

Conclusion: Parents stereotype their babies from an early age even if no stereotypica behaviour is shown. If parents know the sex of the baby before it is born stereotyping can start even earlier.

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Prejudice, development of prejudice in children

Aim: To investigate the development of prejudice amoung young children.

Method: 216 English children aged between 5-10 years old were interviewed on their views and opinions of children frrom different European countries.

Results: At this age, children already demonstrated more positive views towards some European groups than others. It was found that Germans were liked the least and French were liked the most. Despite the children having no factual information about the countries.

Conclusion: By the age of 10 years old, children alreaddy held prejudiced views towards other nationalities.

Evaluation: This study can be criticised for cultural bias, this is when a study cannot be generalised to other countries. This is because it only studied English children which tells us nothing about the prejudice of children from other cultures.

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Prejudice, authoritarian personality- Adorno (1950

Aim: To find out whether people can be prejudiced purely based upon their personality.

Method: Hundreds of former Nazi sodiers were interviewed and had their personality tested using the F scale.

Results: They found a particular set of characteristics common to the Nazi soldiers and considered their personalities to be authoritarian (hostile towards those of a lower status, stubborn, dont like change).

Conclusion: People with the characteristics of an authoritarian personality are highly likely to be prejudice towards others. 

Evaluation: This study can be criticised as this theory is based on a questionnaire which may be invalid as participants may give socially desirable responses.

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Outline of Adorno's theory of prejudice

Adorno argues that prejudice is linked to our personality. If a person has experienced strict personality and is aware of social status, they are more likely to follow rules and obey authority. This makesthem obedient of those above them and treat those below harshlyy with prejudice. 

There is a link between the upbring of those with authortarian personality and showing of prejudice. For example they had less affection shown and show weakness.

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Prejudice, inter-group conflict- Sherif (1961)

Aim: To find out if prejudice develops when groups are in copetition for scarce resources.

Method: An American summer camp was arranged for 22 white, middle-class boys, aged 12 years old. The boys were randomly split into two teams and ept away from each other. At first they didnt know thee other group existed. The boys were guven time to settle into their group and form a group identity. After a while the two groups discovered each otherand the camp staff introduced a series of competitions for the silver cup.

Results: Very quickly the boys began to call the other group unpleasant names and tried to attack each other.

Conclusion: Competition is a cause of prejudice.

Evaluation: This study has low population validity, this is when the findings can not be apllied to wider groups. This is because it only used 12 year old boys from the US. Therefore, sherifs explanation of prejudice may not explain this beaviour in other groups.

Practical implication: Explains how quickly prejudice can occur between groups when competing for he same thing. Eg Football.

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Prejudice, in-groups and out-groups-Levine

Aim: To show that, if people believed they had a relationship with a stranger, they would be more likely hep them.

Method: A situation was set up so that a stuntman fell over in front of a Manchester United fans. Half the time they were wearing a Manchester United shirt and the other half a Liverpool shirt.

Results: When he was wearing the Manchester United shirt he was helped every time. However when he was wearing the Liverpool shirt he was left to help himself up.

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

Evaluation: This study has low population validity, which is when the study can not be generalised to a wider population. This is because it only used on group of fans and those who were there could have simply had an unhhelpful personality type.

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Reducing prejudice, jigsaw method- Aronson (2000)

Aim: To eliminte prejudice between black and white students in a school in texas, USA.

Method: The jigsaw method was developed, which involved students being in mixed-raced groups, each taking a responsibility fro a part off the lesson. They had to become experts on their part and then pass on their knowledge to the other grous of students.

Results: Afterwards the students were interviewed and found that their self eetem was enhanced, they liked their classmates more and their understanding of other racial groups within the calss were better.

Conclusion: This technique did lead to reduced prejudice in the classroom but positive perceptions of other racial groups were not generalised outside of the classroom

Evaluation: This study can be criticised because the positive perceptions were not generalised to outside the classroom. 

Practical implication: Within schools and workplaces prejudice could be reduced but this may not be generalised to other settings.

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Reducing prejudice, contact- Harwood (2003)

Aim: To investigate childrens views on the elderly.

Method: Children and their grandparents were asked about their relationships. The 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 oof a child's attitude towards the elderly.

Evaluation: This study can be criticised for low in validity. This is when they do not measure what they intended. This is because people may show social desirability and lie in their answers.

Practical implication: It is important there is regular contact between children and their grandparents.

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Reducing prejudice, cooperation- Sherif (1961)

Aim: To see if Sherif could get the boys involved in the 'Robber's Cave' experiment to become friends.

Method: When arranging trips and meals out failed to get the boys to become friends again, sherif set up a situation whereby their truck got stuck in the mud and needed pulling out, otherwise they would all miss dinner.

Results: This was sucessful as the task couldd not be completed without cooperation from all the boys.

Conclusion: Cooperation on an important task is one way of reducing prejudice between groups

Evaluation: A strength of this study is that the method did show, if two groups work together to achieve a common goal, prejudice can be reduced.

Practical implication: This theory is difficult to put in real life. There may be tasks to complete in communites that need groups of people to work together, but how do you get thhe groups to join in?

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Reducing prejudice, empathy- Elliott (1970)

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

Method: The class were told the following: Blue eyes smarter than brown eyes, blue eyes are the best in the room, brown eyes cannot play with blue eyes in the playground, brown eyes cannot use the water fountain.

Results: The reaction was immediate.Blue eyes were delighted, arrogant and vicious. The brown eyes were angry, saddened and confused. It was found that fights broke out in the playground from children that were best friends the day before. A few weeks later reversed the experiment and found the same results.

Conclusion: By getting children to experience first-hand what it felt lke to be victims of prejudice and discrimination these children would grow up more tolerant towards others.

Evaluation: This study can be criticised for being unethical, this means its not morally correct. This is because children suffer from psychological stress.

Practical implication: Children should experience empathy at a young age.

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