Prejudice and Discrimination
I. Stereotypes, Prejudice, and Discrimination
A. Stereotype: a generalized belief about a group of people in
which identical characteristics are assigned to virtually all
members of the group, regardless of actual variation among the
B. Prejudice: an attitude or feeling, favorable or unfavorable,
toward a person or group of people, prior to, or not based on,
actual experience.
C. Discrimination: an unjustified negative or harmful behavior
toward a member or members of a group simply because of
their membership in that group.
D. Reverse Discrimination: when, in an effort to act on behalf
of people who have been discriminated against in the past,
people end up discriminating against another group.
II. The Many “isms” of Prejudice and
I. Racism: an individual’s or group’s prejudicial attitudes and
discriminatory behaviors toward people of a given race or
A. Individual Racism: the racist acts of one person based on
conscious or unconscious prejudice.
B. Institutional Racism: when economic, educational, political,
social, and corporate institutions favor one race or ethnicity
over another.
C. Cultural Racism: the discriminatory acts of one race or
ethnic group against another race or ethnic group, at times
attempting to change or eliminate the other group.
D. Racial Discrimination… Does it still exist?
E. Are most people individual racists?
1) Subtle Racism
2) Automatic Racism
The Implicit
Attitude Test
II. Sexism: an individual’s or group’s prejudicial attitudes and
discriminatory behaviors toward menor women.
A. Gender Stereotypes: the perceived cognitive, affective,
and behavioral traits possessed by females and males, and
that distinguish the two sexes from each other.
B. Women are seen as kind, nurturing, and considerate
(positive) as well as dependent, weak, and overly
emotional (negative). Thus, women are “warm” (nice) but
they are not competent.
C. Men are seen as decisive, assertive, and accomplished
(positive) and aggressive, insensitive, and arrogant
(negative). These traits are thought to show that men are a
higher status group than women.
D. The Women are Wonderful Effect!
E. Benevolent Sexism…
Women: Women have a superior moral sensibility.
Men: Men are powerful.
F. Hostile Sexism…
Women: Once a man commits, she puts him on a
tight leash. (He’s whipped!)
Men: Men are immoral.
G. Gender Role: a set of behavioral expectations (norms) for
males and females.
H. Gender Discrimination… Does it still exist?
I. Glass Ceiling: a barrier based on attitudinal or organizational
bias that prevents qualified females from advancing to top-level
J. Glass Elevator: when men enter predominantly female
occupations, they may get an easy ride to top-level positions
or at least get promoted much faster in these occupations.
K. Tokenism I: hiring based on group membership.
1) Token hires are liked less by their coworkers and
viewed as less competent.
L. Tokenism II: when individuals perform trivial positive actions
for members of out-groups that are later used as an excuse for
refusing more meaningful beneficial actions for members of
these groups.
1) For perpetrators of tokenism, prior positive actions
serve as a credential that indicates their “non-prejudiced”
identity, which in turn frees them to later discriminate.
III. Ageism: discrimination against people of a certain age
group, typically older people.
IV. Classism: discrimination against people of a certain socioeconomic status.
V. Other Common Categories of Prejudice and
A. Religion
B. Culture
C. Attractiveness
D. Obesity
E. Homophobia
III. Prejudice and Discrimination:
Different Groups… Different Feelings
A. Some theorists have argued that prejudice is more than
just generic negative feelings toward a group, but rather is
comprised of distinct negative emotions.
B. Depending on what emotion underlies prejudice toward
a particular group, the discriminatory action that might be
expected could be different.
1) When people’s prejudice primarily reflects anger,
they may attempt to harm the out-group directly.
2) Prejudice based on pity or guilt might lead to
avoidance of the out-group because of the distress
their characteristic can evoke.
IV. Social Influence in Prejudice and
A. Social Learning and Conformity…
1) We form ideas and feelings about other people
which lead to behaviors directed towards other
people from observing and conforming to the
attitudes and behaviors of others we like or
believe (family, friends, the media, etc.).
B. Authoritarian Personality: a personality that is disposed to
favor obedience to authority and intolerant of out-groups and
those lower in status.
C. Ethnocentric: believing in the superiority of one’s own ethnic
and cultural group, and having a corresponding disdain for all
other groups.
D. Social Dominance Orientation: motivation to have one’s
group dominate other social groups. Being in a dominant
high-status position tends to promote this orientation and
V. Motivational Influence in Prejudice
and Discrimination
A. Scapegoating: the idea that you use a particular person or
group of people (usually people not in a position to effectively
retaliate) to act out aggression upon in order to vent frustration.
B. Realistic Group Conflict Theory: prejudice and
discrimination arise from competition between groups for
scarce resources.
C. Social Identity Theory: the “we” aspect of our self-concept;
the part of our answer to “Who am I?” that comes from our
group memberships.
This involves three steps…
1) We categorize: “I’m an Italian, a Democrat, a Biologist”
2) We identify: We associate ourselves with certain groups
(in-groups: “Us” – groups of people who share a sense
of belonging, a feeling of common identity) and gain
self-esteem by doing so.
3) We compare: We contrast our groups with other groups
(out-groups: “Them” – groups that people perceive as
distinctly different from or apart from their in-group)
with a favorable bias toward our group.
D. In-Group Bias: the tendency to favor one’s own group over
another group.
E. Out-Group Rejection: the tendency to demonstrate dislike
for an out-group.
1) As in-group size decreases, in-group bias and outgroup rejection increases.
F. Terror Management Theory: when people are primed to think
about their mortality, they become observably hostile to people
with different beliefs (out-groups) and observably more fond of
people with similar beliefs (in-group). This serves to reduce the
activated anxiety associated with thinking about dying.
G. Group-Serving Bias: making internal attributions for
positive in-group and negative out-group behaviors, while
making external attributions for negative in-group and positive
out-group behaviors.
H. Evolutionary Survival Instinct: difference is a sign of
VI. Cognitive Influence in Prejudice
and Discrimination
A. Social identity theory implies that those who feel their
social identity strongly will concern themselves with
correctly categorizing people as us or them.
B. Out-Group Homogeneity Effect: the perception of
out-group members as more similar to one another than are
in-group members.
C. Own-Race (and Own-Age) Bias: the tendency for people to
more accurately recognize faces of their own race and own age.
D. The Ultimate Attribution Error: the tendency to make
dispositional attributions from one individual’s characteristics
or behavior to an entire group of people.
E. Subtype: a subset of a group that is not consistent with the
stereotype of the group as a whole due to multiple distinctive
F. Stigma Consciousness: a person’s expectation of being
victimized by prejudice or discrimination.
G. Just-World Phenomenon: the tendency for people to
believe that the world is just and that people therefore get
what they deserve and deserve what they get.
VII. Prejudice and Discrimination:
Consequences and Remedies
A. Stereotype Threat: people’s perceived risk that they might
do something that supports an unfavorable stereotype about
their group.
B. Do Stereotypes Bias Interpretations of Interactions?
C. Do Stereotypes Bias Judgments of Individuals?
D. Contact Hypothesis: the idea that prejudice and
discrimination will decline as we have more contact with
people who we would have discriminated against.
E. Mutual Interdependence: the need to depend on each
other to accomplish a goal that is important to each group.
Robbers Cave Experiment

out-groups -