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Prejudice and Bias

Stereotypes are oversimplified ideas about groups of people based on characteristics and can include race, gender Gender Gender Dysphoria, sexual orientation Orientation Awareness of oneself in relation to time, place and person. Psychiatric Assessment, or religion. Stereotypes can have both positive and negative connotations. Prejudice refers to thoughts, attitudes, and feelings about a group that are not based on actual experience. Emotions and cognition contribute to prejudice. Attitudes and beliefs that influence behaviors or actions result in what is known as discrimination. Discrimination has a multitude of effects on targeted individuals, including how they express emotion, interact with society, and perceive themselves.

Last updated: Aug 13, 2022

Editorial responsibility: Stanley Oiseth, Lindsay Jones, Evelin Maza

Definition

Prejudgment or forming an opinion before being aware of the relevant facts of a case is known as prejudice. Prejudice often refers to preconceived opinions toward a certain social group.

Bias Bias Epidemiological studies are designed to evaluate a hypothesized relationship between an exposure and an outcome; however, the existence and/or magnitude of these relationships may be erroneously affected by the design and execution of the study itself or by conscious or unconscious errors perpetrated by the investigators or the subjects. These systematic errors are called biases. Types of Biases is the inclination (for or against) toward a person, object, or idea.

Stereotypes are oversimplified ideas about groups of people based on characteristics. They can have both positive and negative connotations and include the following:

Processes Contributing to Prejudice

Three main processes contribute to prejudice.

Power is defined as the ability to control the behavior of others and can be divided into the following 3 categories:

  • Economic power:
    • Power held by wealth
    • Can be characterized by the ability to take control over properties or organizations
  • Personal power: power held by an individual
  • Political power:
    • Power held by political groups
    • Includes enforcing laws and favoring certain political views to support certain groups of people

The 2nd process contributing to prejudice is prestige, which refers to reputation or respect. For example, people with certain occupations, such as doctors or lawyers, may garner more prestige.

The 3rd process is class, which refers to a set of people of similar social status (often determined by factors such as income, education, and occupation). Individuals may be categorized into lower, middle, or upper class. People in the lower class may be perceived as lazy and poor; however, those in the upper class may be perceived as “hard workers” who are deserving of their wealth.

The Role of Emotion in Prejudice

Emotions are considered to be responses to cognitive evaluation or appraisals. Appraisals are defined as a method of perceiving events or people based on significant evolutionary themes, including disease, loss, and attack. Appraisals are also attuned to moral/social problems such as greed, impurity, and injustice. For example, appraisal of an individual who is behaving in an irresponsible, unfair, or lazy manner tends to elicit anger.

Role of Cognition in Prejudice

People make decisions based on information and knowledge that is most readily available. In other words, most judgments are made depending on the availability heuristic.

For example, in the Czech Republic, most discussions on the gypsy population focus on the high crime rate and stereotypical poverty among the group. Based on cognitive bias Bias Epidemiological studies are designed to evaluate a hypothesized relationship between an exposure and an outcome; however, the existence and/or magnitude of these relationships may be erroneously affected by the design and execution of the study itself or by conscious or unconscious errors perpetrated by the investigators or the subjects. These systematic errors are called biases. Types of Biases, a theoretical company could decide to not hire members from the gypsy population even if they do not have any 1st-hand experience with that population.

Stigma and Ethnocentrism

Social stigma is defined as the extreme discrediting and disapproval of an individual by society. The 2 forms include social stigma and self-stigma.

Social stigma includes concepts such as prejudice, discrimination, and stereotypes. Social stigma and its components are affected by, and may vary based on, the sociopolitical context. Characteristics/situations where individuals commonly experience social stigma include the following aspects:

  • Mental health conditions
  • Medical conditions
  • Substance use
  • Criminality
  • Sexual orientation Orientation Awareness of oneself in relation to time, place and person. Psychiatric Assessment

For example, many people may incorrectly believe that individuals with mental health disorders are violent. This belief is considered a stereotype, as it involves a cognition that is generalized to a group of people or population. Prejudice would come into play if this cognition or belief leads to a negative affect or emotion (e.g., if you become afraid of individuals with mental health disorders). Lastly, if these prejudices and stereotypes lead to a change in our behavior, it results in what is known as discrimination (e.g., if you are afraid of individuals with mental health disorders, you may not want to hire them or live near them).

Discriminatory experiences, prejudices, and negative stereotypes may be internalized by individuals. These individuals may begin to feel a need to avoid interacting with society or may feel rejected by society itself.

For example, an individual diagnosed with AIDS AIDS Chronic HIV infection and depletion of CD4 cells eventually results in acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), which can be diagnosed by the presence of certain opportunistic diseases called AIDS-defining conditions. These conditions include a wide spectrum of bacterial, viral, fungal, and parasitic infections as well as several malignancies and generalized conditions. HIV Infection and AIDS may deny they have the condition and avoid seeking medical care Medical care Conflict of Interest due to the negative stigma associated with AIDS AIDS Chronic HIV infection and depletion of CD4 cells eventually results in acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), which can be diagnosed by the presence of certain opportunistic diseases called AIDS-defining conditions. These conditions include a wide spectrum of bacterial, viral, fungal, and parasitic infections as well as several malignancies and generalized conditions. HIV Infection and AIDS. Furthermore, they may develop mental health issues such as depression.

Processes Related to Stereotypes

The Pygmalion effect Pygmalion effect Refers to the tendency of subjects or investigators to behave differently based on other’s expectations. Types of Biases (self-fulfilling prophecy) is characterized by stereotypes that lead to behaviors affirming the original stereotype/beliefs. For example, if a student is perceived to be intelligent and likely to succeed, teachers may provide them more attention Attention Focusing on certain aspects of current experience to the exclusion of others. It is the act of heeding or taking notice or concentrating. Psychiatric Assessment and resources, thereby improving their performance and chances of success.

Stereotype threat refers to a self-fulfilling fear that one is at risk of confirming negative stereotypes. A study by Spencer, Steele, and Quinn (1999) illustrated this threat by examining stereotypes in advanced math and gender Gender Gender Dysphoria (“women are less adept at math than men”). They found that women’s performances in math were directly influenced by preconditioning. Women performed better on a math test when they were told that no men were enrolled in the test, versus when they were informed that men were participating in the test too.

References

  1. Chamberlin J. (2004). What’s behind prejudice? Monitor on Psychology, 35(9): 34. https://www.apa.org/monitor/oct04/prejudice
  2. Holinger PC. (2017). Understanding bias, prejudice, and violence. Psychology Today. Retrieved August 11, 2022, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/great-kids-great-parents/201706/understanding-bias-prejudice-and-violence
  3. Hund J, et al. (2022). Race and ethnic relations in the U.S.: An intersectional approach. LibreTexts.
  4. Abrams D. (2010). Processes of prejudice: Theory, evidence and intervention. Equality and Human Rights Commission Research Report 56. Centre for the Study of Group Processes, University of Kent. https://www.equalityhumanrights.com/sites/default/files/research-report-56-processes-of-prejudice-theory-evidence-and-intervention.pdf
  5. Spencer SJ, Steele CM, Quinn DM. (1999). Stereotype threat and women’s math performance. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 35(1), 4-28. https://doi.org/10.1006/jesp.1998.1373

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