Project failure discussion forum
February 15, 2020
Soap note of an acute condition
February 15, 2020

Stereotypes and How They Hinder Health Care

Read/review the following resources for this activity:

  • Textbook: Chapter 5
  • Lesson
  • Minimum of 2 scholarly sources in addition to your textbook and lesson

Stereotypes, unfortunately, are a common side-effect of societal
perception of other individuals and groups. No matter who you are,
stereotypes & prejudices influence our thoughts and perceptions even
if they are unconscious.

Select a group from any culture, country, or society. Describe how
stereotypes or prejudices against that group might influence a health
care practitioner during treatment. You can select a historical group
(for example: plague victims, AIDS patients from the early 1980s) or
more recent (immigrants in detention centers or patients with race
specific illnesses such as sickle cell anemia or Tay-Sachs syndrome).
Describe common stereotypes of the group you selected. Dissect those
stereotypes as to the potential impact they might have on treatment
options or decisions or care. Analyze how specific theories we learned
about influence stereotypes, prejudice and discrimination in the context
of this scenario.

Writing Requirements (APA format)

  • Length: 2-3 pages (not including title page or references page)
  • 1-inch margins
  • Double spaced
  • 12-point Times New Roman font
  • Title page
  • References page (minimum of 2 scholarly sources)

Chapter 5 Stereotypes, Prejudice, and Discrimination

Heavily-armed police and National Guard forces are called in as
racial tensions erupt into protests and riots in multiple American
communities in response to a series of killings of unarmed African
American men by the police.

A white man opens fire on worshipers in an historic African-American
church in South Carolina, killing nine; investigators report that the
shooter told them he wanted to start a race war. Supreme Court justices
are split five to four in a ruling about the legality of practices that
result in housing discrimination.

If you’re familiar with twentieth-century American history, this
should sound like the volatile 1960s, as bat- tles over Civil Rights
boiled over in many parts of the nation. But what we’ve just described
occurred a full half century later, at the end of 2014 and in the first
half of 2015. The sins of the past seemed to be repeating, demonstrating
that although much has changed, much also remains the same.

The problems are by no means limited to black– white relations, or to
the United States. Around the same time period, violence and hatred
directed toward Jews throughout Europe and Australia were on the rise
(see d Figure 5.1). Laws against pro-LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and
transgender) “propaganda” were passed in Russia. Anti-Muslim sentiment
increased in many parts of the West, while anti-West sentiment con-
tinued to flourish among large numbers of radical Mus- lims. The prime
minister of India decried the continuing (though officially banned)
practice of parents selectively aborting girls. As billionaire Donald
Trump announced his candidacy for president of the United States, he
denounced Mexican immigrants as criminals and rap- ists and leaped to
the top of the polls (Ahmed, 2015; Fletcher, 2014; Gjelten, 2015; Luke,
2015; Mahr, 2015).

Faced with these headlines, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact
that progress, in some cases tremendous prog- ress, has been made. The
United States had elected, and then re-elected, its first African
American president. The Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage was
now legal throughout the United States. Today more people than ever rush
to defend the targets and denounce the perpetrators of prejudice and
discrimination. The march toward progress is real, but its rhythm is
frustratingly unsteady, at its best a “two-steps forward and one-step
back” motion.

To better understand and improve our diverse world, to help the march
toward progress acceler- ate in the right direction, it is critically
important to understand the complexity and causes of stereo- types,
prejudice, and discrimination. That is the pri- mary goal of this
chapter. We begin by taking a close look at the nature of the problem of
intergroup bias in contemporary life. Later in the chapter we address
some of the key causes and important consequences of intergroup biases,
and we close by discussing some of the most promising directions in
efforts to reduce these problems.

The Nature of the Problem: Persistence and Change

In this section, we discuss some of the progress that has been made
concerning stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination, along with the
persistence of more subtle forms of these biases. To provide a focus and
to reflect the topics that have most dominated the research literature,
we will concentrate in this sec- tion primarily on racism and sexism in
particular—even though many of the points hold true across a wide
variety of targets of stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination.

Defining Our Terms

Given the complexity of these issues, defining concepts such as
prejudice or rac- ism is no simple matter. Debates persist about how
best to define the terms—how broad or specific they should be, whether
they should focus on individual or institutional levels, and so on. For
example, one way to define racism is as preju- dice and discrimination
based on a person’s racial background. It is important to realize,
however, that racism exists at several different levels.

At the individual level, as this definition reflects, any of us can
be racist to- ward anyone else. At the institutional and cultural
levels, in contrast, some people are privileged while others are
disadvantaged. Aspects of various institutions and the culture more
generally may perpetuate this inequality, even if unintention- ally. For
example, institutions may unwittingly perpetuate racism by tending to
accept or hire individuals similar or connected to the people who
already are in the institution, and popular culture may signal what
kinds of people are most and least valued. Therefore, another way to
define racism is as institutional and cultural practices that promote
the domination of one racial group over another (Jones, 1997b). The
incidents described at the beginning of this chapter sparked much
discussion about systemic racism, which concerns these institutional and
cultural levels of racial discrimination. Similarly, sexism may be
defined as preju- dice and discrimination based on a person’s gender or
as institutional and cultural practices that promote the domination of
one gender (typically men) over another (typically women).

For the purposes of this chapter, we define stereotypes as beliefs or
asso- ciations that link whole groups of people with certain traits or
characteristics. Prejudice consists of negative feelings about others
because of their connec- tion to a social group. Whereas stereotypes
concern associations or beliefs and prejudice concerns feelings,
discrimination concerns behaviors—specifically, negative behaviors
directed against persons because of their membership in a particular
group. Stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination can operate some- what
independently, but they often influence and reinforce each other.

racism: Current Forms and Challenges

A close examination of legislation, opinion polls, sociological data,
and social psy- chological research indicates that racial prejudice and
discrimination have been decreasing in the United States and in many
other countries over the last 70 years, although elements of it may once
again be on the rise, particularly in Western Europe. In a classic
study of ethnic stereotypes published in 1933, Daniel Katz and Kenneth
Braly found that white college students viewed the average white
American as smart, industrious, and ambitious, and they saw the average
African American as superstitious, ignorant, lazy, and happy-go-lucky.
In multiple follow- up surveys with demographically similar samples of
white students conducted from 1951 through 2001, these negative images
of blacks largely faded and were replaced by more favorable images
(Dovidio et al., 1996; Madon et al., 2001). For example, 75% of white
participants chose “lazy” as a trait to describe black Americans in
1933, whereas only 5% did so 60 years later. Similarly, public opin- ion
polls have indicated that racial prejudice in the United States has
dropped sharply since World War II. d Figure 5.2 depicts one dramatic
example of this trend, concerning attitudes toward inter-racial marriage
(Newport, 2015).

The election of Barack Obama as the first African American president
of the United States in 2008 was a significant sign of racial progress,
as was his re- election in 2012. As Obama pointed out when he was
inaugurated, his own father would not have been served in many
restaurants in the nation’s capital 60 years before, and now that
father’s son was being sworn in to the highest office in the land. That
amount of progress in a person’s lifetime is staggering. However, when
those of us who study stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination saw
story after story in the popular media at the time of Obama’s election
heralding the dawn of a “postracial America,” we knew how naive and
wrong such notions were.

While serving as president, for example, Obama—along his wife,
Michelle— was the target with shocking regularity of hateful racial
epithets and blatant stereotypes hurled by politicians, police
officials, journalists, political cartoonists, celebrities, and ordinary
citizens. During this time the spate of killings of unarmed African
American men by police in several cities led to investigations that
revealed persistent systemic racial discrimination. Data from archival
analyses, surveys, and even experiments in which other variables are
held constant continue to show how African American and Hispanic
individuals suffer in comparison to white Americans in housing,
employment, salaries, incarceration rates, and a host of other important
quality-of-life variables (Gabrielson et al., 2014; Horwitz, 2015;
Pager & Shepherd, 2008; Reskin, 2012).

In sum, then, there are legitimate reasons both to celebrate racial
progress and to acknowledge that racism remains a fact of life and is by
no means limited merely to the actions of some fringe individuals or
groups. And as we will see in the following section, it exists in ways
that escape the recognition of most people.

Modern, Aversive, and implicit racism Consider two stories from the world of sports:

1. As the first half ended during a high school basketball game near
Pittsburgh, fans of a predominately white high school ran onto the court
in full body banana suits, sur- rounded the players from the
predominately African American opposing team, and “allegedly began
making monkey noises and hurling racial epithets” at the players (C.
Smith, 2012). A few months later in Poland and Croatia, black members of
the Dutch and Italian national soccer teams were the targets of racial
abuse—including being on the receiving end of monkey chants and a flung
banana—during the Euro 2012 championships. Indeed, the 2012 tournament,
and the World Cup tournament in 2014 were marred by a variety of
incidents of racist taunting by players and fans from mul- tiple
European and South American nations (Barnes, 2014; Brown, 2012; Cue,

2. Christopher Parsons and others (2009) analyzed every pitch from
four Major League Baseball seasons—more than 3.5 million pitches in
all—and found a fascinating set of results. Umpires were more likely to
call strikes for pitchers who were of the same race/ethnicity as they
were. Even more interesting is the fact that this bias emerged only
under three conditions: (1) if the game was played in the subset of
ballparks that did not have a computerized monitoring system the league
was using to review umpires’ performance in calling balls and strikes;
(2) if the number of people attending the game was relatively low; and
(3) if the call would not be the final ball or strike for the player at
bat. In other words, the racial/ethnic bias was evident only under the
conditions when there would be the least accountability or public

3. The first of these examples—concerning racist taunting—illustrates
what some call old-fashioned racism. It is blatant, explicit, and
unmistakable. The second— concerning the bias in umpiring—is what some
call modern racism, a subtle form of prejudice that tends to surface
when it is safe, socially acceptable, or easy to rationalize. Modern
racism is far more subtle and most likely to be present under the cloud
of ambiguity. Like germs lurking beneath a seemingly clean countertop,
stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination in contemporary life live
under the sur- face to a much, much greater extent than most people
realize. And like germs, their existence can have a profound effect on
us, despite how hidden they may be.

4. According to theories of modern racism, many people are racially
ambivalent. They want to see themselves as fair, but they still harbor
feelings of anxiety and discomfort about other racial groups (Hass et
al., 1992). There are several specific theories of modern racism, but
they all emphasize contradictions and tensions that lead to subtle,
often unconscious forms of prejudice and discrimination (Gawronski et
al., 2012; Levy et al., 2013; Nier & Gaertner, 2012). For example,
Samuel Gaertner and John Dovidio (1986; Hodson et al., 2010) proposed
the related concept of aversive racism, which concerns the ambivalence
between individuals’ sincerely fair-minded attitudes and beliefs, on the
one hand, and their largely unconscious and unrecognized prejudicial
feelings and beliefs, on the other hand. In addition, some scholars
today use the term microaggression to characterize the everyday,
typically subtle but hurtful forms of discrimination that are
experienced quite frequently by members of targeted groups (Forrest-Bank
et al., 2015).

Measuring implicit racism The modern forms of racism sometime operate
consciously but more frequently operate outside people’s conscious
awareness. Scholars call racism that operates unconsciously and
unintentionally implicit racism. This raises a question: How can we
measure how implicitly biased someone is? Because of its implicit
nature, it can’t be assessed by simply asking people to answer some
questions about their attitudes. Rather, much more subtle, indirect
measures typically are used. By far the most well known of these
measures is the Implicit Association Test (IAT), first developed and
tested by Anthony Greenwald and others (1998). The IAT measures the
extent to which two concepts are associated. It measures implicit racism
toward African Americans, for instance, by comparing how quickly
participants associate African American cues (such as a black face) with
negative or positive concepts compared to how quickly they associate
European American cues with these same concepts. If someone is
consistently slower identifying something good after seeing a black face
than a white face, for example, this would indicate a degree of
implicit racism.


interracial interactions The divides between racial and ethnic
groups tend to be more vast and may promote stronger feelings of
hostility, fear, and distrust than the divides based on other social
categories, such as those based on gender, appearance, and age. This can
make interracial interaction particularly challenging and fraught with
emotion and tension. When engaging in interracial interactions, whites
may be concerned about a number of things, including not wanting to be,
or to appear to be, racist. They may therefore try to regulate their
behaviors, be on the lookout for signs of distrust or dislike from their
interaction partners, and so on. Because of these concerns, what should
ideally be a smooth-flowing normal interaction can become awkward and
even exhausting. This, in turn, can affect their partner’s perceptions
of them, possibly leading to the ironic outcome of well-intentioned

appearing to be racist precisely because they were trying not to be.
Because of these concerns, engaging in interracial interactions can be
so stressful as to leave the individuals cognitively exhausted, less
able immediately after the interaction to complete mental tasks (Shelton
& Richeson, 2015).


Sexism: Ambivalence, Objectification, and Double Standards

As with racism, old-fashioned blatant displays of sexism are less
socially accepted than in years past, although they continue to exist at
a frequency and with an intensity that would surprise many. As with
racism, researchers have been documenting and studying modern and
implicit forms of sexism that tend to escape the notice of most people
but that can exert powerful discriminatory effects (Girvan et al., 2015;
Swim & Hyers, 2009).

There are some ways that sexism is different, however. Gender
stereotypes are distinct from virtually all other stereotypes in that
they often are prescriptive rather than merely descriptive. In other
words, they indicate what many people in a given culture believe men and
women should be like, not merely what people think they actually are
like. Few people, for example, think that gays should be artistic and
sensitive or that old people should be forgetful and conservative, but
many think that women should be nurturing and that men should be
unemotional. Therefore, women who exhibit traits that are valued in
society but that defy gender stereo- types, such as by being ambitious
or assertive, often are viewed in especially harsh terms, contributing
to the double standards that are a hallmark of sexism (Brescoll et al.,
2010; Prentice & Carranza, 2002; Rudman et al., 2012; Rudman,
Fetterolf, & Sanchez, 2013).

Another way that sexism is unique concerns the degree to which the
ingroup and outgroup members interact. Men and women are intimately
familiar with each other. Girls and boys often grow up together, women
and men often live together. In contrast to the effects of contact in
reducing many other intergroup biases, however, all this contact between
women and men often does little to re- duce sexist beliefs, attitudes,
and behaviors.

Ambivalent Sexism It may surprise you to learn that, overall,
stereotypes of women tend to be more positive than those of men (Eagly
et al., 1994). However, the positive traits associated with women are
less valued in important domains such as the business world than the
positive traits associated with men.

These contradictions are reflected in Peter Glick and Susan Fiske’s
(2001, 2012) concept of ambivalent sexism. Ambivalent sexism consists of
two elements: hostile sexism, characterized by negative, resentful
feelings about women’s abili- ties, value, and challenge to men’s power
(e.g., “Women seek special favors under the guise of equality”), and
benevolent sexism, characterized by affectionate, chiv- alrous feelings
founded on the potentially patronizing belief that women need and
deserve protection (e.g., “Women should be cherished and protected by
men”). Benevolent sexism, on the surface, does not strike many women or
men as ter- ribly troubling, but the two forms of sexism are positively
correlated. Benevolent sexism is associated in particular with negative
reactions toward women who defy traditional gender roles and

Both types of sexism are associated with supporting gender inequality
in a variety of ways, and both predict many kinds of discriminatory
behaviors and negative consequences (Durán et al., 2011; Masser et al.,
2010; Rudman & Fetterolf, 2014). For example, Allison Skinner and
others (2015) found that, depending on the context, hostile and
benevolent sexism each predicted more negative judgments of the driver
in an accident if the driver was said to be a woman rather than a man.
Kristen Salomon and colleagues (2015) found that being the target of
either type of sexism triggered negative cardiovascular responses in the
women in their study.

Glick, Fiske, and others (2000) conducted an ambitious study of
15,000 men and women in 19 nations across 6 continents and found that
ambivalent sexism was prevalent around the world. Among their most
intriguing findings was that people from countries with the greatest
degree of economic and political inequal- ity between the sexes tended
to exhibit the most hostile and benevolent sexism.

Objectification Women are all too often treated in objectifying ways.
That is, they are viewed or treated more as mere bodies or objects and
less as fully func- tioning human beings. The advertising industry
specifically, and the popular media more generally, are filled with
imagery of women represented as sexual objects or just parts of a body
(Kilbourne, 2003). For example, Julie Stankiewicz and Fran- cine
Rosselli (2008) examined almost 2,000 advertisements depicting women
from 58 popular magazines in the United States and found that half of
them featured women as sex objects. Women also experience being treated
and seen as objects in numerous interactions in their real lives. In one
study involving in-depth interviews with 600 women in and around Paris,
France, an astonishing 100% reporting having been sexually harassed
while using public transportation (Palet, 2015)!

Although men are objectified in the media as well (and this is a
growing trend), and are sometimes objectified in real interactions, it
is still the case that women experience this much more frequently, and a
good deal of research documents a variety of negative effects of this
objectification on women, including on their mental and physical health,
their academic performance, and their social interactions (Calogero et
al., 2011; Fredrickson et al., 1998; Saguy et al., 2010; Tiggemann &
Williams, 2012).

Sex Discrimination: Double Standards and Perva- sive Stereotypes Many
years ago, Philip Goldberg (1968) asked students at a small women’s
college to evaluate the con- tent and writing style of some articles.
When the material was supposedly written by John McKay rather than Joan
McKay it received higher ratings, a result that led Goldberg to wonder
if even women were prejudiced against women. Certain other studies
showed that people often devalue the performance of women who take on
tasks usually reserved for men (Lott, 1985) and attribute women’s
achievements to luck rather than ability (Deaux & Emswiller, 1974;
Nieva & Gutek, 1981). These studies generated a lot of attention,
but it now appears that this kind of devaluation of women is not
commonly found in similar studies. More than 100 studies modeled after
Gold- berg’s indicate that people are not generally biased by gender in
the evaluation of performance (Swim & Sanna, 1996; Top, 1991). More
recently, two different sets of studies involved having professors from
science-related fields evaluate the ma- terials of candidates for
research or faculty positions in their fields, and these studies found
completely contradictory re- sults: One found a bias in favor candidates
if they were said to be male (Moss-Racusin et al., 2012), and the other
found a bias in favor candidates if they were said to be female
(Williams & Ceci, 2015). The point here is that in studies involving
the evaluation of materials that are identical except for the gender of
the person who supposedly produced the materials, the findings have
been inconsistent.

What is quite clear, however, is that sex discrimination continues to
exist in numerous other ways and instances. As with forms of modern and
implicit rac- ism, subtle but impactful examples of sexism abound. For
example, Juan Madera and others (2015) looked at real letters of
recommendation that professors wrote for candidates for academic jobs. A
quick look at these letters probably would not reveal any obvious
differences based on the gender of the candidates. A more thorough
analysis, however, indicated that both male and female professors tended
to include more pieces of information raising slight doubts (e.g., “she
has a somewhat challenging personality,” “she might make a good
colleague”) for female than for male candidates. Moreover, these
seemingly minor doubts made a significant difference in the evaluations
of people reading these letters.

Sexism today is by no means limited to subtle biases. In many parts
of the world blatant sexism not only is still quite evident, but it is
the law of the land. A law in Morocco that enables rapists to escape
prosecution by marrying their victim came under fire when a 16-year-old
girl committed suicide after a court ordered her to marry the man who
raped her (Hirsch, 2012). Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani teenage girl,
was shot in the head in 2012 by the Taliban when she defied their bans
against girls attending school. She survived the attack, became an
inspiring activist dedicated to female education, and in October 2014
became the youngest person to win a Nobel Peace Prize.

After surviving being shot in the head by the Taliban for defying
their ban against girls attending school in Pakistan, Malala Yousafzai
has worked tirelessly in her quest to help girls around the world
receive education. She became the youngest person to win the Nobel Peace
Price in 2014.

Beyond racism and Sexism: Age, Weight, Sexuality, and Other Targets

We have focused in this section on racism and sexism not only because
of their historic significance but also because they have been dominant
in social psycho- logical research. It is important to note that other
forms of bias and discrimina- tion are, of course, quite important and
are the subject of contemporary social psychological research. In fact,
social psychologists today are studying a wider variety of types of
stereotypes, prejudices, and discrimination than ever. It is prob- ably
no coincidence, for example, that as our population ages and people tend
to live longer, more researchers are studying ageism—prejudice and
discrimina- tion targeting the elderly (Nelson, 2011; North & Fiske,
2015). Other forms of discrimination that are getting recent attention
include those targeting people’s physical disabilities or
disfigurements, mental health, political ideology, economic class, being
unmarried, or religion (or the lack of religious beliefs) (DePaulo,
2011; Gervais, 2013; Madera & Hebl, 2013; West et al., 2014).

Prejudice and discrimination based on sexuality have gone through
some dramatic changes very recently. When the former Olympic champion
Bruce Jenner revealed to the public in 2015 that he was transitioning to
a female identity, with the name Caitlyn, the support that Cait- lyn
received from the general public was enormous (al- though certainly not
universal) and probably would have been unthinkable just a few years
before. Americans’ attitudes toward same-sex marriage also have shifted
dramatically in just a few years (see d Figure 5.7).

Being Stigmatized

We are all targets of other people’s stereotypes and prejudices.
These may be based on how we look, how we talk, how we dress, where we
come from, and so on. None of us is immune from having our work
evaluated in a biased way, our motives questioned, or our attempts at
making new friends rejected because of stereotypes and prejudices. But
for the targets of some stereotypes and prejudices, these concerns are
relentless and profound. For them, there seem to be few safe havens.
Social psychologists often refer to these targets as
stigmatized—individuals who are targets of negative stereotypes,
perceived as deviant, and devalued in society because they are members
of a particular social group or because they have a particular
characteristic (Major & Crocker, 1993). What are some of the effects
of being stigmatized by stereotypes and prejudice?


Stereotype Threat: A Threat in the Air

One of the more tragic effects of stereotyping in contemporary life
is its effects on the intellectual performance and identity of its
targets. An enormous wave of re- search on this issue was generated when
social psychologist Claude Steele began writing about this problem in
the 1990s. Steele proposed that in situations where a negative
stereotype can apply to certain groups, members of these groups can fear
being seen “through the lens of diminishing stereotypes and low
expecta- tions” (1999, p. 44). Steele (1997) called this predicament
stereotype threat, for it hangs like “a threat in the air” when the
individual is in the stereotype-relevant situation. The predicament can
be particularly threatening for individuals whose identity and
self-esteem are invested in domains where the stereotype is relevant.
Steele argued that stereotype threat plays a crucial role in influencing
the intel- lectual performance and identity of stereotyped group
members. Steele and his colleagues (2002) later broadened the scope of
their analysis to include social identity threats more generally. These
threats are not necessarily tied to specific stereotypes but instead
reflect a more general devaluing of a person’s social group.

The Prevalence and Diversity of Threats Since these original
studies, re- search inspired by the theory of stereotype threat grew at a
stunningly fast pace. The evidence for underperformance due to
stereotype threat is quite strong and broad (Inzlicht & Schmader,
2012; Schmader et al., 2015). It has been found both in the lab- oratory
and in real-world settings, including schools and businesses. The
examples of these threats run far and wide. For instance, many white
athletes feel stereotype threat whenever they step onto a court or
playing field where they constitute the minority. Will the white athlete
feel the added weight of this threat while struggling against the other
athletes in a game? To address this question, Jeff Stone and others
(1999) had black and white students play miniature golf. When the
experimenters characterized the game as diagnostic of “natural athletic
ability,” the white students did worse. But when they characterized it
as diagnostic of “sports intelligence,” the black students did worse.

Causes of Stereotype Threat effects Stereotype threat exerts its
effects in multiple ways (Forbes & Leitner, 2014; Rydell et al.,
2014; Schmader et al., 2015). Stereotype threat has been shown to do
each of the following to people: trigger physiological arousal and
stress; drain cognitive resources; cause a loss of focus to the task at
hand because of attempts to suppress thoughts about the relevant
stereotype; impair working memory; activate negative thoughts, worry,
feelings of dejection, and concerns about trying to avoid failure rather
than trying to achieve success; elicit neural activity biased toward
negative, stereotype-confirming feedback. Think about trying to do your
best on a difficult test that is important to you while all of these
things are happening to you—you’d get some sense of how stereotype
threat can undermine people’s performance and ambitions.

Even though stereotype threat effects are widespread, the growing
body of research on this subject also gives us reason to hope. Social
psychologists have been uncovering ways that people can be better
protected against these threats. We will focus on these promising ways
in the final section of this chapter.

Causes of the Problem: Intergroup, Motivational, Cognitive,

and Cultural Factors

“In the 2010 census of the popu- lation of the United States, more
than 21.7 million Americans did not believe the government’s traditional
categories of race fit them.”

—Yen (2012)

social categorization The classification of persons into groups on the basis of common attributes.

we get to the solutions to stereotype threat and the other problems
we have been discussing thus far in this chapter, we turn next to the
social psychological causes at the root of these problems.

One of the reasons that stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination
persist is because they are caused by multiple factors. There are many
sources fueling these problems, and they operate both independently and
in tandem. Some stem from the ways that humans cognitively process and
remember information. Others can be traced to motivations and goals that
drive us to see or react to our social worlds in particular ways. Still
others concern how groups of people are represented or valued in one’s
culture. In this section we turn to look at some of the most impor- tant
of these causes.

Social Categories and intergroup Conflict

At the root of stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination is the
fact that we divide our social world into groups. As perceivers, we
routinely sort each other into groups on the basis of gender, race, age,
and other common attributes in a process called social categorization.
In some ways, social categorization is natural and adaptive. It allows
us to form impressions quickly and use experience to guide new
interactions. With so many things to pay attention to in our social
worlds, we can save time and effort by using people’s group memberships
to make inferences about them. The time and energy saved through social
categorization does come at a cost, however. Categorizing people leads
us to overestimate the differences between groups and to underestimate
the differences within groups (Krueger & DiDonato, 2008; Wyer et
al., 2002).

Ingroups Versus Outgroups Although categorizing humans is much
like cat- egorizing objects, there is a key difference. When it comes to
social categorization, perceivers themselves are members or nonmembers
of the categories they use. Groups that we identify with—our country,
religion, political party, even our hometown sports team—are called
ingroups, whereas groups other than our own are called outgroups. We see
people in fundamentally different ways if we consider them to be part
of our ingroup or as part of an outgroup.

One consequence is that we exaggerate the differences between our
ingroup and other outgroups, and this exaggeration of differences helps
to form and reinforce stereotypes. Another consequence is a phenomenon
known as the outgroup homogeneity effect, whereby perceivers assume that
there is a greater similarity among members of outgroups than among
members of one’s own group. In other words, there may be many and subtle
differences among “us,” but “they” are all alike (Linville & Jones,
1980). It is easy to think of real-life examples. People from China,
Korea, Taiwan, and Japan see them- selves as quite distinct from one
another, of course, but to many Westerners they are seen simply as
Asian. E

Dehumanizing Outgroups Perceivers may not only process outgroup
faces more superficially but also sometimes process them more like
objects and lower- order animals than like fellow humans. Dehumanization
has played a role in atrocities throughout history, such as in the Nazi
propaganda that characterized the Jews in Germany as disease-spreading
rats and blacks as half-apes. The con- tinued presence of some of this
kind of imagery in contemporary life is chilling, as in the examples
discussed in the introduction of this chapter of black athletes in
numerous countries being taunted with monkey chants. When former rock
star Ted Nugent called Barack Obama “a chimpanzee” and “sub-human mon-
grel” in a 2014 interview (Haraldsson, 2014), this marked only one of
countless examples of white Americans using such imagery to describe

Fundamental Motives Between groups The roots of dividing into
ingroups and outgroups run quite deep in our evolutionary history, as
early humans’ sur- vival depended on forming relatively small groups of
similar others. A fundamental motive to protect one’s ingroup and be
suspicious of outgroups is therefore likely to have evolved. Consistent
with this idea are the results of experiments that demonstrate that when
people’s basic motivations of self-protection are activated—such as in
response to a threatening situation, economic scarcity, a scary movie,
concerns about the flu, or even being in a completely dark room— people
are more prone to exhibit prejudice toward outgroups or to be especially
hesitant to see possible outgroup members as part of one’s ingroup
(Makhanova et al., 2015; Maner et al., 2012; Schaller & Neuberg,

Motives Concerning intergroup Dominance and Status Some people
are especially motivated to preserve inequities between groups of people
in soci- ety. For example, people with a social dominance orientation
have a desire to see their ingroups as dominant over other groups and
tend to support cultural values that contribute to the oppression of
other groups. Individuals with this orientation tend to endorse
sentiments such as “If certain groups stayed in their place, we would
have fewer problems” and to disagree with statements such as “Group
equality should be our ideal.” Research in numerous coun- tries
throughout the world has found that ingroup identification and outgroup
derogation and dehumanization can be especially strong among people with
a social dominance orientation (Kteily et al., 2015; Levin et al.,
2013; Prati et al., 2015; Pratto et al., 2013).

Social dominance orientations promote self-interest. But some
ideologies support a social structure that may actually oppose one’s
self-interest, depending on the status of one’s groups. John Jost and
his colleagues (Jost et al., 2015; van der Toorn et al., 2015) have
focused on what they call system justification theory, which proposes
that people are motivated (at least in part) to defend and justify the
existing social, political, and economic conditions. System-justifying
beliefs protect the status quo. Groups with power, of course, may
promote the status quo to preserve their own advantaged position. But
although some disadvantaged groups might be able to improve their
circumstances if they were to challenge an economic or political system,
members of disadvantaged groups with a system justification orientation
think that the system is fair and just, and they may admire and even
show outgroup favoritism to outgroups that thrive in this system.

Stereotype Content Model According to the stereotype content
model (Kervyn et al., 2015; North & Fiske, 2014), many group
stereotypes vary along two dimensions: warmth and competence. Groups may
be considered high on both dimensions, low on both, or high on one
dimension but low on the other. For example, the elderly may be
stereotyped as high on warmth but low on competence.

The stereotype content model proposes that stereotypes about the com-
petence of a group are influenced by the relative status of that group
in society—higher relative status is associated with higher competence.
Stereo- types about the warmth of a group are influenced by perceived
competition with the group—greater perceived competition is associated
with lower warmth. For example, groups that are of low status but that
remain compliant and do not try to upset the status quo are likely to be
stereotyped as low in competence but high in warmth. On the other hand,
a wave of immigrants who enter a coun- try with low status but are seen
as competing for jobs and resources may be perceived as low in both
competence and warmth. For groups that are seen as high on one dimension
but low on the other, there may be a perceived trade-off between
competence and warmth. A woman climbing up the corporate lad- der by
demonstrating strong competence, for example, may be seen as much less
warm. If she tries to demonstrate warmth, however, she may be seen as
less competent. but that didn’t help either. What did eventually work
was the introduction of superordinate goals, mutual goals that could be
achieved only through coop- eration between the groups. For example, the
experimenters arranged for the camp truck to break down, and both
groups were needed to pull it up a steep hill. This strategy worked like
a charm. By the end of camp, the two groups were so friendly that they
insisted on traveling home on the same bus. In just three weeks, the
Rattlers and Eagles experienced the kinds of changes that often take
generations to unfold: They formed close-knit groups, went to war, and
made peace. ……

Realistic Conflict Theory The view that direct competition for
valuable but limited resources breeds hostility between groups is called
realistic conflict theory (Levine & Campbell, 1972). As a simple
matter of economics, one group may fare better in the struggle for land,
jobs, or power than another group. The losing group becomes frustrated
and resentful, the winning group feels threatened and protective—and,
before long, conflict heats to a rapid boil. It is likely that a good
deal of prejudice in the world is driven by the realities of competition
(Duckitt & Mphuthing, 1998; Filindra & Pearson-Merkowitz, 2013;
Stephan et al., 2005; Zárate et al., 2004). For example, Marcel
Coenders and others (2008) found that support for discrimination against
ethnic minority groups tended to increase in the Netherlands when the
unemployment level had recently risen. David Butz and Kuma Yogeeswaran
(2011) found that students in the United States indicated more prejudice
against Asian Americans if they had just read information about serious
economic problems and growing competition for scarce resources.

But there is much more to prejudice than real competition.
“Realistic” com- petition for resources may in fact be imagined—a
perception in the mind of an individual who is not engaged in any real
conflict. In addition, people may become resentful of other groups not
because of their conviction that their own security or resources are
threatened by these groups but because of their sense of relative
deprivation, the belief that they fare poorly compared with others. What
matters to the proverbial Smiths is not the size of their house per se
but whether it is larger than the Jones’s house next door (Moscatelli et
al., 2014; H. J. Smith & Pettigrew, 2015).

Social identity Theory

People all over the world believe that their own nation, culture,
language, and religion are better and more deserving than others. Part
of the rea- son for that is even more basic than real or perceived
competition for finite resources. Rather, it stems from something more
subtle and psychological.

Culture and Social identity

Individuals’ social identities are clearly important to people across
cultures. Collectivists are more likely than individualists to value
their connectedness and interdependence with the people and groups
around them, and their personal identities are tied closely with their
social identities. Collectivists do show some biases favoring their
ingroups—indeed, being oriented strongly toward one’s in- group can be
highly valued in their cultures—and may draw sharper distinctions


Culture and Socialization

The list of familiar stereotypes is quite long. Athletes are dumb,
math majors are geeks, Americans are loud, Italians are emotional,
Californians are laid back, white men can’t jump, car salesmen can’t be
trusted. And on and on it goes. Dividing people into social categories,
including ingroups and outgroups, cer- tainly is a key factor in the
formation of stereotypes and prejudices. But with so many well-known
stereotypes and prejudices, many of which are shared around the world,
it is clear that we are somehow taught these stereotypes from our
culture. We turn now to examine those processes.

Socialization refers to the processes by which people learn the
norms, rules, and information of a culture or group. We learn a
tremendous amount of informa- tion (often without even realizing it) by
absorbing what we see around us in our culture, groups, and families.
These lessons include what various stereotypes are, how valued or
devalued various groups are, and which prejudices are acceptable to
have. …….

Gender Stereotypes: Blue for Boys, Pink for girls Our traditional
story be- gins with what are often the first words uttered when a baby
is born: “It’s a boy!” or “It’s a girl!” In many hospitals, the newborn
boy is immediately given a blue hat and the newborn girl a pink hat. The
infant receives a gender-appropriate name and is showered with
gender-appropriate gifts. Over the next few years, the typical boy is
sup- plied with toy trucks, baseballs, pretend tools, toy guns, and
chemistry sets; the typi- cal girl is furnished with dolls, stuffed
animals, pretend makeup kits, kitchen and tea sets, and dress-up
clothes. As they enter school, many expect the boy to earn money by
mowing lawns and to enjoy violent superhero movies, while they expect
the girl to earn money by babysitting and to enjoy sweet stories about
friendship or love.

Social role Theory

to look at the larger culture around them and see who occupies what
roles in society as well as how these roles are valued. According to
Alice Eagly’s (Eagly & Wood, 2012; Koenig & Eagly, 2014) social
role theory, although the perception of sex differences may be based on
some real differences, it is magnified by the unequal social roles men
and women occupy.

Media effects More than ever, children, adolescents, and adults
seem to be im- mersed in popular culture transmitted via the mass media.
Watching TV shows on our phones or iPads while on the stationary bike
at the gym, checking out the latest viral videos or celebrity Instagram
posts while taking a break at work or the coffee shop, seeing
advertisements popping up on our computer screens like weeds, glanc- ing
at the tabloid cover shots of the latest starlet hounded by relentless
paparazzi— there often seems no escape. Through the ever-present media,
we are fed a steady diet of images of people. These images have the
potential to perpetuate stereotypes and discrimination.

How Stereotypes Distort Perceptions and resist Change

Once stereotypes and prejudices are in place due to the factors we’ve
been discussing, why are they often so resistant to change? Although
some stereo- types may be accurate, some certainly are false, and many
are at least over- simplifications (Jussim, 2012; Madon et al., 1998;
McCrae et al., 2013; Scherer et al., 2015). Why, then, do inaccurate
stereotypes persist despite evidence that should discredit them? In this
section we turn to some of the mechanisms that help perpetuate

Confirmation Biases and Self-Fulfilling Prophecies Imagine learning
that a mother yelled at a 16-year-old girl, a lawyer behaved
aggressively, and a Boy Scout grabbed the arm of an elderly woman
crossing the street. Now imagine that a construction worker yelled at a
16-year-old girl, a homeless man behaved aggressively, and an ex-con
grabbed the arm of an elderly woman crossing the street. Do very
different images of these actions come to mind? This is a fundamental
effect of stereotyping: Stereotypes of groups influence people’s
perceptions and interpretations of the behaviors of group members. This
is especially likely when a target of a stereotype behaves in an
ambiguous way; perceivers reduce the ambiguity by interpreting the
behavior as consistent with the stereotype (Dunning & Sherman, 1997;
Kunda et al., 1997).

Stereotypes can be reinforced also through the illusory
correlation, a tendency for people to overestimate the link between
variables that are only slightly or not at all correlated (Hamilton
& Rose, 1980; Kutzner & Fiedler, 2015; Sherman et al., 2009; Van
Rooy et al., 2013). One kind of illusory correlation occurs when people
overestimate the association between variables that are relatively
rare. For example, if people read about a variety of criminal acts, most
of which are com- mitted by members of a majority group and some of
which are committed by members of a particular minority group, they may
overestimate the association between minority group status (a relatively
rare group) and criminal behavior (a relatively rare behavior). This
tendency can create or perpetuate negative stereo- types. Illusory
correlations may also be produced through people’s tendency to
overestimate the association between variables they already expect to go
together. For example, if perceivers who hold stereotypes about women
being poor drivers witness 100 men and 100 women driving, and 10% of
each group get into an accident, they may overestimate the number of
women and underestimate the number of men who had accidents. In other
words, they see an association between gender and accidents that is not
supported by the data.


Automatic Stereotype Activation

Part of the power of stereotypes is they can bias our perceptions and
responses even if we don’t personally agree with them. In other words,
we don’t have to believe a stereotype for it to trigger illusory
correlations and self-fulfilling prophecies or to influence how we
think, feel, and behave toward group members. Some- times just being
aware of stereotypes in one’s culture is enough to cause these effects.
Moreover, stereotypes can be activated without our awareness.

In a very influential line of research, Patricia Devine (1989)
distinguished be- tween automatic and controlled processes in
stereotyping. She argued that people have become highly aware of the
content of many stereotypes through socialization from their culture.
Because of this high awareness people may automatically activate
stereotypes whenever they are exposed to members of groups for which
popular stereotypes exist. Thus, just as after hearing bacon and many of
us are automatically primed to think eggs, when we think of a
stereotyped group we are also primed to think of concepts relevant to
the stereotype.

To demonstrate this point Devine exposed white participants in one
study to subliminal presentations on a computer monitor. Subliminally
presented information is presented so quickly that perceivers do not
even realize that they have been exposed to it. In Devine’s study these
presentations consisted of words relevant to stereotypes about black
people, such as Africa, ghetto, welfare, and basket- ball.

intergroup Contact

One of the many enduring ideas in Gordon Allport’s (1954) classic
book, The Nature of Prejudice, was the contact hypothesis, which states
that under certain conditions, direct contact between members of rival
groups will reduce intergroup prejudice. Around the time of the
publication of this book, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the historic
1954 case of Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka that racially
separate schools were inherently unequal and violated the U.S.
Constitution. In part, the decision was informed by empirical evidence
supplied by 32 eminent social scientists on the harmful effects of
segregation on both race relations and the self-esteem and academic
achievement of black students (Allport et al., 1953). The Supreme
Court’s decision propelled the nation into a large-scale social
experiment. What would be the effect?

intergroup Friendships and extended Contact

Developing friendships across groups is one of the best ways to
experience many of the optimal conditions for contact that are listed in
Table 5.3. Friendships typi- cally involve equal status, meaningful
one-on-one interactions that extend across time and settings, and
cooperation toward shared goals. It therefore makes sense that one of
the most encouraging lines of research on improving intergroup rela-
tions has focused on cross-group friendships. A recent meta-analysis by
Kristin Davies and others (2011) on 135 studies supports the idea that
cross-group friend- ships are associated with more positive attitudes
and behaviors toward outgroup members.

The Jigsaw Classroom

As the third condition in Table 5.3 indicates, cooperation and shared
goals are ideal for intergroup contact to be successful. Yet the
typical classroom is filled with competition—exactly the wrong
ingredient. Picture the scene. The teacher stands in front of the class
and asks a question. Many children wave their hands, each straining to
catch the teacher’s eye. Then, as soon as one student is called on, the
others groan in frustration. In the competition for the teacher’s
approval, they are losers—hardly a scenario suited to positive
intergroup contact. To combat this problem in the classroom, Elliot
Aronson and his colleagues (1978) developed a cooperative learning
method called the jigsaw classroom. In newly desegregated public schools
in Texas and California, they assigned fifth graders to small racially
and academically mixed groups. The material to be learned within each
group was divided into subtopics, much the way a jigsaw puzzle is broken
into pieces. Each student was responsible for learning one piece of the
puzzle, after which all members took turns teaching their material to
one another. In this system, everyone—regardless of race, ability, or
self-confidence—needs everyone else if the group as a whole is to

Shared identities

One important consequence of the jigsaw classroom technique is that
individuals became more likely to classify outgroup members as part of
their own ingroup. Instead of seeing racial or ethnic “others” within
the classroom, the students now see fellow classmates. Students feel
that they are all in the same boat together. More generally, intergroup
contact that emphasizes shared goals and fates can effectively reduce
prejudice and discrimination—specifically by changing how group members
categorize each other (Bettencourt et al., 2007; Van Bavel &
Cunningham, 2009).

Trust, Belonging, and reducing Stereotype Threat

Claude Steele’s theory of stereotype threat discussed earlier in the
chapter re- ceived a great deal of attention because it not only helped
explain causes underly- ing some profound social problems—such as the
underperformance or reduced interests of large groups of people in
various academic and career pursuits—but also offered encouragement
rather than pessimism. It illustrated that making even small changes in
the situational factors that give rise to stereotype threat can reduce
the tremendous weight of negative stereotypes, allowing the targets of
stereotypes to perform to their potential.

Exerting Self-Control

A key point in this chapter is that people often ste- reotype and
show prejudice toward others even when they would rather not, sometimes
by merely being aware of the stereotype. Can we learn to con- trol and
rise above these impulses?

One of the challenges is that trying to suppress stereotyping or to
control prejudiced actions can take mental effort, and people often
don’t have the time, energy, or awareness to dedicate to this effort
(Ito et al., 2015). E

Changing Cognitions, Cultures, and Motivations
We have just discussed some of the challenges involved in trying not
to think about stereotypes or act in a prejudiced way. There are several
ways of thinking that can be more productive. Social– cognitive factors
that research has shown can re- duce stereotyping and prejudice
Being exposed to and thinking about examples of group members that
are inconsistent with the ste- reotype (Columb & Plant, 2011).
Learning about the variability that exists among the people in a group (Brauer & Er-rafiy, 2011; Brauer et al., 2012).
Being induced to take the perspective of a person from a stereotyped
group (Maister et al., 2015; Peck et al., 2013; Todd et al., 2012).


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