Original chapter by Susan T. Fiske, adapted by the Queen’s University Psychology Department
This Open Access chapter was originally written for the NOBA project. Information on the NOBA project can be found below.
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People are often biased against others outside of their own social group, showing prejudice (emotional bias), stereotypes (cognitive bias), and discrimination (behavioral bias). In the past, people used to be more explicit with their biases, but during the 20th century, when it became less socially acceptable to exhibit bias, such things like prejudice, stereotypes, and discrimination became more subtle (automatic, ambiguous, and ambivalent). In the 21st century, however, with social group categories even more complex, biases may be transforming once again.
Prejudice is an evaluation or emotion toward people merely based on their group membership.
Our general beliefs about the traits or behaviors shared by group of people.
Discrimination is behavior that advantages or disadvantages people merely based on their group membership.
Dovidio, J. F., & Gaertner, S. L. (2010). Intergroup bias. In S. T. Fiske, D. T. Gilbert, & G. Lindzey (Eds.), Handbook of social psychology, Vol. 2 (5th ed.) (pp. 1084-1121). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley.
Fiske, S. T. (1998). Stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination. In D. T. Gilbert, S. T. Fiske, & G. Lindzey (Eds.), The handbook of social psychology, Vols. 1 and 2 (4th ed.) (pp. 357-411). New York: McGraw-Hill.
Katz, D., & Braly, K. (1933). Racial stereotypes of one hundred college students. The Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 28(3), 280-290. doi:10.1037/h0074049
Blatant biases are conscious beliefs, feelings, and behavior that people are perfectly willing to admit, are mostly hostile, and openly favor their own group.
A belief that group hierarchies are inevitable in all societies and are even a good idea to maintain order and stability
Sidanius, J., & Pratto, F. (1999). Social dominance: An intergroup theory of social hierarchy and oppression. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Endorses respect for obedience and authority in the service of group conformity
Altemeyer, B. (1988). Enemies of freedom: Understanding right-wing authoritarianism. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Altemeyer, B. (2004). Highly dominating, highly authoritarian personalities. The Journal of Social Psychology, 144(4), 421-447. doi:10.3200/SOCP.144.4.421-448
Subtle biases are automatic, ambiguous, and ambivalent, but real in their consequences.
A behavior or process has one or more of the following features: unintentional, uncontrollable, occurring outside of conscious awareness, and cognitively efficient.
An implicit attitude task that assesses a person’s automatic associations between concepts by measuring the response times in pairing the concepts.
Greenwald, A. G., Banaji, M. R., Rudman, L. A., Farnham, S. D., Nosek, B. A., & Mellott, D. S. (2002). A unified theory of implicit attitudes, stereotypes, self-esteem, and self-concept. Psychological Review, 109(1), 3-25. doi:10.1037/0033-295X.109.1.3
Greenwald, A. G., McGhee, D. E., & Schwartz, J. L. K. (1998). Measuring individual differences in implicit cognition: The implicit association test. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 74(6), 1464-1480. doi:10.1037/0022-35184.108.40.2064
Greenwald, A. G., Poehlman, T. A., Uhlmann, E. L., & Banaji, M. R. (2009). Understanding and using the Implicit Association Test: III. Meta-analysis of predictive validity. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 97(1), 17-41. doi:10.1037/a0015575
Word, C. O., Zanna, M. P., & Cooper, J. (1974). The nonverbal mediation of self-fulfilling prophecies in interracial interaction. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 10(2), 109-120. doi:10.1016/0022-1031(74)90059-6
Devine, P. (1989). Stereotypes and prejudice: Their automatic and controlled components. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 5, 5–18.
Rudman, L. A., & Ashmore, R. D. (2007). Discrimination and the implicit association test. Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, 10(3), 359-372. doi:10.1177/1368430207078696
A theoretical analysis of group processes and intergroup relations that assumes groups influence their members’ self-concepts and self-esteem, particularly when individuals categorize themselves as group members and identify with the group.
Tajfel, H., Billig, M. G., Bundy, R. P., & Flament, C. (1971). Social categorization and intergroup behaviour. European Journal of Social Psychology, 1(2), 149-178. doi:10.1002/ejsp.2420010202
Brewer, M. B., & Brown, R. J. (1998). Intergroup relations. In D. T. Gilbert, S. T. Fiske, & G. Lindzey (Eds.), The handbook of social psychology, Vols. 1 and 2 (4th ed.) (pp. 554-594). New York: McGraw-Hill.
Self-categorization theory develops social identity theory’s point that people categorize themselves, along with each other into groups, favoring their own group.
Turner, J. C. (1975). Social comparison and social identity: Some prospects for intergroup behaviour. European Journal of Social Psychology, 5(1), 5-34. doi:10.1002/ejsp.2420050102
Aversive racism is unexamined racial bias that the person does not intend and would reject, but that avoids inter-racial contact.
Stereotype Content Model shows that social groups are viewed according to their perceived warmth and competence.
Fiske, S. T., Cuddy, A. J. C., & Glick, P. (2007). Universal dimensions of social cognition: Warmth and competence. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 11(2), 77-83. doi:10.1016/j.tics.2006.11.005
Bodenhausen, G. V., & Peery, D. (2009). Social categorization and stereotyping in vivo: The VUCA challenge. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 3(2), 133-151. doi:10.1111/j.1751-9004.2009.00167.x