Social theories of attitude development and stereotypes

Attitudes have been referred to as one of the most crucial concepts in interpersonal psychology. Regarding to Petty and Cacioppo (1981) 'the term frame of mind should be used to make reference to a general, long lasting positive or negative sense about some person, subject, or issue'. All attitudes have a framework and based on the 'three-component attitude model' a person's attitude is a blend o three components: affective element (just what a person seems about the attitude object), cognitive part (what a person thinks the attitude thing is similar to) and behavioural part (how a person actually response to the attitude thing). Attitudes likewise have a function. Katz (1960) suggested that there are different kinds of attitude each serving some other function, such as: adaptive function which helps to achieve goals; personal expressive function for expressing our believes and viewpoints; ego-defensive function which shields one's self-esteem; knowledge function which helps us to structure and coordinate our public world and sociable modification function which helps us to manage social situations.

According to Franzoi (1966) stereotypes are "fixed ways of thinking about individuals who put them into categories and don't allow for individual variation". Significant reasons of stereotypes are to reduce processing work by presenting a simple way of perceiving the planet and to allow us to tell apart ourselves (and the groups to which we belong) evidently from the members of other teams (Oakes, Haslam, &Turner, 1994). But they can have a negative side and they make a difference impression development before we meet a person first-time. And this can lead quickly to prejudice (usually negative) and discrimination.

Prejudice is an unjustified negative (or positive) frame of mind toward a social group or a member of that group. Discrimination on the other hands refers to behaviour or action taken against another group. The most common prejudices are based on sex, race, ethnicity, age, erotic orientation and physical and mental disabilities and the victims of prejudice can go through material and subconscious disadvantage, low self-esteem, cultural stigma and physical and verbal mistreatment.

Social schemas play an enormous role in impression creation. Corresponding to Fiske and Taylor (1991) 'Community schema is a mental platform for representing about oneself, other people, and specific and common public situations and occurrences'. They are really organized series of information predicated on past experience and they're supporting with encoding new ones. There are four different types of schema: personal schemas that are cognitions about yourself; person schemas that happen to be expectations about people; role schemas, behaviours expected specifically cultural situations and event schemas which are sequences of situations in familiar situations.

According to Asch (1946) some information we have in regards to a person may have a solid and disproportionate affect in impression formation (central attributes) and some have little or no influence whatsoever on the formation of impression (peripheral characteristics). To investigate this notion Asch gave participants one of two lists of adjectives describing a person. The only real distinctions between two lists were the term "warm" and "cold". Asch found that the person was graded more favorably by individuals given list formulated with term "warm". This turned out that qualities of warm and wintry are central characteristics and have a solid influence on impression formation. When what "polite" and "blunt" were used instead of "warm" and "cold" Asch found no difference in score and this implies that these adjectives are peripheral attributes and have little effect on impression creation.

In another test Asch (1946) proven that the order in which information about a person is provided can provide an influence on the impression produced. He gave half of participants a set of adjectives describing the individual with positive features first and bad habits previous, and the other half list with reversed order. He discovered that person was rated more favorably by participants given list comprising positive information at the beginning and negative by the end. This is called primacy effect, when the features shown first disproportionally influence the final impression.

Luchins (1957) on the other side has shown in his test that information given last has the best affect on the impression formed which is called recency impact. He proved that they are more likely to occur when two collections of information are read with a time interval between them.

Sherif (1936) completed a study which demonstrated that prejudice often results from turmoil between teams. When two organizations are in competition for resources which can be limited, the associates of each group have a tendency to become prejudiced contrary to the people of the other group. This explenation of prejudice is called realistic group turmoil. Review which he cried to demonstrate this is recognized as the Robbers Cave test (Sherif et al. , 1961). Twenty-two males aged between 11 and 12 years spent two weeks at a summer time camp in America. They were placed into two categories (the Eagles and the Rattlers). Each group resided in a cabin which were in a good distance aside. Sherif (1936) set up some activities between them for competition of recources. The children were informed that whichever group have better in various competitions would get prize, such as the best food at a party. The founding exhibited quick development of a issue between two groupings (fights, name calling, refusing to eat with the other group). Prejudice was greatly reduced when competetive situations substituted with cooperative, where the success of each group required the assistance of the other one. Sherif's theory has been reinforced by Blake and Mouton (1961) by using similar techniques in group of studies concerning more than 1000 business people on management training programs in America. This is how his theory has strong ecological validity which means that behaviour was analyzed in ways in which it would normally appear in everyday life. However Tyerman and Spencer (1983) argued that competition only has remarkable effects when those involved do not curently have long-term friendships. They noticed scouts who realized each other well at their twelve-monthly camp fighting against the other person in groups. In this case competition did not produce the negative effects. There was some concerns portrayed above the ETHICS of Sherif's field analysis. It created turmoil and anxiety between groups which was distressing to some of the children attending the summertime camp.

According to Sociable id theory, one of the very most influental prejudice theories, developed by Henry Tajfel (1970) we all have a need to understand and assess ourself. He argued that this is achieved by three main processes. The first one is cultural categorisation which involves categorising oneself and other people as owned by various groups which produce interpersonal identities. Second process, positive distinctiveness is a need of people for improved self-esteem by owned by succesful groups. This is achieved by the average person compering her or his group (ingroup) favourably against one or more other teams (outgroups). This technique is called communal comparison. To verify his theory he completed a report on 14- and 15- year-old boys. They were asked to estimate the number of dots observed in brief subjection and than these were assigned at random(without their knowledge) to one of two groups:the overestimators or the underestimators. After that, these were asked to award factors (which they could exchange for the money) to other individuals of any group. As a result boys honored more points to memebrs of their own group than to memebrs of the other group which shows an proof ingroup favouritism. Tajfel theory has been backed by Lemyre and Smith (1985). Their research confirmed how people favour their own group over other organizations to be able to increase their self-esteem. A few of their participants experienced to provide rewards either to 1 of two ingroups or one of two outgroups when other members were permitted to give rewards to users of either an ingroup or an outgroup. Members who could discriminate towards an ingroup over an outgroup experienced higher self-esteem than those unable to achieve this task. However Rabbie, Schot, and Visser (1989) argued that those predicted effects of cultural identity do not always occur. They advised their participants in the test that they would receive only what outgroup users gave them. Because of that, self-interest outweighed their sense of interpersonal personality and these members exhibited outgroup favouritism.

Adorno et al. (1950) argued that individuals with authoritarian personality are likely to be prejudiced. People with this kind of personality possess such features like:rigid beliefs, hostility towards other teams, intolerance of ambiguity and submissive behaviour towards those in specialist. Matching to Adorno et al. authoritarian personality has its origins in childhood experience. Children who get harsh upbringing with a whole lot of punishment from their parents are most likely to develop this personality. He devised various questionnaires relating to their theory. One of them was E-Scale, where ethnocentrism is a idea that one's own cultural group is more advanced than all others (for example helps to measure prejudice towards dark-colored people, Jews). More important one was the F(Fascism)-Scale, which steps the attitudes of the authoritarian personality. Adorno et al. (1950) offered large groups of individuals lots of checks and scientific interviewes and F-Scale. Those who scored high on the F-Scale were more prejudiced than low scorers and likewise they appeared to have been cured more harshly than non-authoritarian individuals during child years. Adornos theorie has been backed by Altmeyer (1996). He suggested that the origins of authoritarianism lay in adolescence alternatively than early youth. Those whose parents are authoritarian imitate the behavior of the parents. However Pettigrew (1958) argued that prejudice depends more on ethnical norms than on personality. He examined prejudice in South Africa and USA where the levels of authoritarianism were the same (but more prejudice towards black people in South Africa than in the United States).

Part Two

"Intergroup Contact (contact hypothesis Allport)"

Psychologists have identified various approaches that can be taken to reduce or even eliminate all forms of prejudice and discrimination. One of them is Allport's (1954) contact hypothesis. He argued that prejudice can be reduced by increasing sociable contact between prejudiced individuals and the categories against which they are prejudiced. His hypothesis is dependant on the concept that prejudice is based on ignorance, which is the consequence of limited social connection with outgroup members. This limited contact and insufficient information about people of different groups contributes to developing negative, stereotypical views (Ellison & Forces, 1994) in which way regular connection with other group participants promotes good attitude towards them and it allows to gain information about them. Allport stated that contact is merely apt to be effective under certain conditions: it should entail people (or teams) of equivalent social status; they need to show common goals;they have to work together to accomplish such goal and there must be formal institutional support for intergroup acceptance. Without these conditions there is a possibility that good attitude change won't happen and intergroup turmoil and prejudice will increase (Bratt, 2002). Among the psychologists which backed contact hypothesis was Bratt (2002) who found that students acquired more good attitude towards outgroup people which they experienced connection with at university than outgroups customers they had minimal interaction by any means. Ellison and Power (1994) discovered that Afro-Americans with white friends had more positive attitude towards white people than dark-colored people without such friendships.

Contact hypothesis is one of the most effective ways to boost intergroup relations but its been widely criticised for being overly optimistic and that the contact even under ideal circumstances might possibly not have any impact on lowering prejudice and stereotypes at all. Also research which facilitates this hipothesis has been highly criticised. Social psychologists argued that conditions essential for reduced amount of prejudice make this hypothesis not appropriate to the real world (Dixon, Durrheim & Tredoux, 2005). Ellison & Power (1994) and Robinson & Preston (1976) suggested that casual contact is not satisfactory in minimizing prejudice because conditions for optimum contact are not characteristic for most casual encounters between communities. Also Hanssen (2001) criticised research on the contact hypothesis for being taken under ideal or lab conditions where its promoted and monitored rather than everyday configurations. He founded his founding on his analysis which has didn't support contact hypothesis in natural setting. Also the study has been criticized for its huge focus on white People in america (Ellison & Capabilities, 1994). Beacuse it's centered on such a limited area, this is of intergroup contact might be not entirely understood for people of other races. It has been reinforced by Robinson and Preston (1976) study in which they analyzed for prejudice, North american and DARK-COLORED teachers. The exact same psychologists again critisised contact hypothesis because of forcing prejudiced individuals into connection with others. Instead of reducing their prejudices it was much more likely to get unfavorable results. To summarise it, contact hyphothesis has been investigateg and hugle criticised since its development but nonetheless its reported to be one of the most effective ways to lessen prejudice and discrimination in intergroup relations.

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