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goal would be using secondary compensation if he or she devalued the goal (a college psychologically protect oneself
education is not all that important) or disidenti¬ed with the goal (members of my against the outcomes of
group usually donʼt go to college). On the other hand, primary compensation reduces prejudice.
the actual threats posed by prejudice. Coping strategies are developed that allow the primary compensation
targets of prejudice to achieve their goals. For example, the person in the example A method by targets of
could increase his or her effort (study harder in school), use latent skills (become more prejudice that reduces threats
posed by using coping
persistent), or develop new skills to help achieve goals that are blocked by prejudice.
strategies that allow the
When primary compensation is used, it reduces the need for secondary compensation
targets of prejudice to achieve
(Miller & Myers, 1998).
their goals.
Interestingly, coping with prejudice is different if you are talking about individual
coping as opposed to group coping. Mummendey, Kessler, Klink, and Mielke (1999)
tested coping strategies tied to two theories relating to being a target of prejudice:
social identity theory and relative deprivation theory. As you read earlier, social identity
theory proposes that individuals derive part of their self-concept from af¬liation with a
group. If the group with which you af¬liate has negative stereotypes attached to it, the
social identity will be negative. According to relative deprivation theory, members of
Social Psychology
144

a stereotyped group recognize that they are undervalued and reap fewer bene¬ts from
society than more preferred groups. In theory, negative social identity should lead to
individually based coping strategies, whereas perceived relative deprivation should lead
to group-based coping (Mummendey et al., 1999).
To test this hypothesis, residents of former East Germany were administered a
questionnaire concerning social identity and relative deprivation. The questionnaire also
measured several identity management strategies. Mummendey and colleagues (1999)
found that social identity issues were handled with management strategies (e.g., mobility
and recategorization of the self to a higher level in the group) that stressed oneʼs indi-
vidual attachment with an in-group. Management techniques relating to relative depri-
vation were more group based, focusing on group-based strategies such as collective
action to reduce relative deprivation. In addition, social identity issues were tied closely
with cognitive aspects of group af¬liation, whereas relative deprivation was mediated
strongly by emotions such as anger.



Reducing Prejudice
A rather gloomy conclusion that may be drawn from the research on the cognitive
processing of social information is that normal cognitive functioning leads inevitably
to the development and maintenance of social stereotypes (Mackie, Allison, Vorth,
& Asuncion, 1992). Social psychologists have investigated the strategies that people can
use to reduce prejudice and intergroup hostility. In the following sections, we explore
some of these actions.

Contact between Groups
In his classic book The Nature of Prejudice (1954), Gordon Allport proposed the contact
hypothesis. According to this hypothesis, contact between groups will reduce hostil-
ity when the participants have equal status and a mutual goal. However, evidence for
contact hypothesis the contact hypothesis is mixed. On the one hand, some research does not support the
A hypothesis that contact contact hypothesis (Miller & Brewer, 1984). Even if there is friendly contact, people still
between groups will reduce manage to defend their stereotypes. Friendly interaction between individual members of
hostility, which is most
different racial groups may have little effect on their prejudices, because the person they
effective when members of
are interacting with may be seen as exceptional and not representative of the out-group
different groups have equal
(Horwitz & Rabbie, 1989). On the other hand, some research does support the contact
status and a mutual goal.
hypothesis (Van Laar, Levin, Sinclair, & Sidanius, 2005). Van Laar et al. looked at the
effects of living with a roommate from a different racial or ethnic group. They found
that students who were randomly assigned to live with an out-group roommate showed
increasingly positive feelings as the academic year progressed. The most positive effect
of contact was found when the out-group roommate was African American. Even better,
the increasing positive attitudes toward African Americans were found to generalize to
Latinos. Interestingly, however, both white and black participants showed increasingly
negative attitudes toward Asian roommates as the year progressed.
In one early study, two groups of boys at a summer camp were made to be competi-
tive and then hostile toward each other (Sherif, Harvey, White, Hood, & Sherif, 1961).
At the end of the camp experience, when the researchers tried to reduce the intergroup
hostility, they found that contact between the groups and among the boys was not suf-
¬cient to reduce hostility. In fact, contact only made the situation worse. It was only
Chapter 4 Prejudice and Discrimination 145

when the groups had to work together in pulling a vehicle out of the mud so that they
could continue on a long-awaited trip that hostility was reduced. This cooperation on a
goal that was important to both groups is called a superordinate goal, which is essen-
tially the same as Allportʼs notion of a mutual goal.
Further evidence that under certain circumstances contact does lead to a positive change
in the image of an out-group member comes from other research. In one study, for example,
college students were asked to interact with another student described as a former patient
at a mental hospital (Desforges et al., 1991). Students were led to expect that the former
patient would behave in a manner similar to a typical mental patient. Some of the partici-
pants were initially prejudiced toward mental patients, and others were not. After working
with the former mental patient in a 1-hour-long cooperative task, the initially prejudiced
participants showed a positive change in their feelings about the former patient.
As shown in Figure 4.9, participants experienced a three-stage alteration. At ¬rst,
they formed a category-based impression: “This is a former mental patient, and this
is the way mental patients behave.” But equal status and the necessity for cooperation
(Allportʼs two conditions) compelled the participants to make an adjustment in their
initial automatically formed impression (Fiske & Neuberg, 1990). This is the second
stage. Finally, once the adjustment was made, participants generalized the change in
feelings to other mental patients (although they might have concluded, as tends to be
more common, that this patient was different from other former mental patients). Note
that the readjustment of the participantsʼ feelings toward the former mental patient was
driven by paying attention to the personal characteristics of that individual.
In another setting (a schoolroom), Eliot Aronson found that the use of tasks that
require each person to solve some part of the whole problem reduces prejudice among
schoolchildren (Aronson, Blaney, Stephan, Sikes, & Snapp, 1978). This approach,
called the jigsaw classroom, requires that each group member be assigned responsibil-
ity for a part of the problem. Group members then share their knowledge with everyone
else. The concept works because the problem cannot be solved without the efforts of
all members; thus each person is valued. This technique also tends to increase the self-
esteem of members of different ethnic groups because their efforts are valued.
Does the contact hypothesis work? Yes, but with very de¬nite limits. It seems that
Figure 4.9 Three
both parties have to have a goal they both want and cannot achieve without the other.
stages in the alternation of
This superordinate goal also has to compel both to attend to each otherʼs individual char-
characteristics attributed to
acteristics. It also seems to be important that they be successful in obtaining that goal. A
the typical group member
recent meta-analysis con¬rms that contact strategies that conform to the optimal condi-
and general attitudes
tions have a greater effect on prejudice than those that do not (Tropp & Pettigrew, 2005a).
toward the group through
Additinally Tropp and Pettigrew (2005a) found that the prejudice-reducing effects of
structured contact with a
contact were stronger for majority-status groups than minority-status groups.
group member.
From Desforges (1991).
Social Psychology
146

Even when all these conditions are met, individuals may revert to their prior beliefs
when they leave the interaction. Palestinians and Israelis meeting in Egypt to resolve
differences and negotiate peace may ¬nd their stereotypes of the other side lessening
as they engage in face-to-face, equal, and (perhaps) mutually rewarding contact. But
when they go home, pressure from other members of their groups may compel them to
take up their prior beliefs again.
Finally, research has investigated how contact reduces prejudice. Recent evi-
dence suggests that intergroup contact mediates prejudice through emotional chan-
nels rather than directly reducing stereotypes and other cognitive aspects of prejudice
(Tropp & Pettigrew, 2005b).

Personalizing Out-Group Members
According to Henri Tajfel (1982), the Nazis attempted to deny Jews and others their
individuality, their identity, by de¬ning them as outside the category of human beings,
as Untermenschen, subhumans. This dehumanization made it easy for even humane
individuals to brutalize and kill because they did not see the individual men, women,
and children who were their victims (Horwitz & Rabbie, 1989).
If dehumanizing people makes it easier to be prejudiced, even to carry out the worst
atrocities, then perhaps humanizing people, personalizing them, can reduce stereotyp-
ing and prejudice. People are less likely to use gender stereotypes, for example, when
they have the time to process information that tells them about the distinctive traits of
individual males and females (Pratto & Bargh, 1991). Humanizing members of a group
does not necessarily mean that we must know or understand each individual in that group
(Bodenhausen, 1993). It means we understand that we and they have a shared humanity
and that we all feel the same joys and pains. Overall, although personalization is not
always successful, especially if the individual is disliked, it does make it more dif¬cult
for people to act in a prejudiced manner (Fiske & Neuberg, 1990).
In the 1993 movie Schindlerʼs List, an event occurs that illustrates the notion of
humanizing the other group. Schindler has managed to save 1,200 Jews otherwise des-
tined for the gas chambers by employing them in his factory. Schindler knows that the
German guards have orders to kill all the Jews should the war end. When news comes
that the war is over, the guards stand on a balcony overlooking the factory ¬‚oor, their
weapons pointed at the workers. But these Germans have had contact with the Jews; they
have seen Schindler treat them humanely, and they have heard them praying and cel-
ebrating the Sabbath. Schindler, desperate to save his charges, challenges the Germans:
“Do you want to go home as men or as murderers?” The guards hesitate and then slowly
leave. Did the Germans put up their weapons out of a sense of shared humanity, or were
they simply tired of killing people? In any event, the Jews survived.

Reducing the Expression of Prejudice through Social Norms
In the spring of 1989, four African American students at Smith College received anon-
ymous notes containing racial slurs. The incident led to campus-wide protests. It also
inspired an experiment designed to determine the most effective way to deter such
expressions of hatred (Blanchard, Lilly, & Vaughn, 1991). The answer? Attack the
behaviors”the acts of hatred themselves”not peopleʼs feelings about racial issues.
In one experiment, students were asked how they felt the college should respond
to these anonymous notes. Some participants then “overheard” a confederate of the
experimenters express the opinion that the letter writer, if discovered, should be expelled.
Other participants “overheard” the confederate justify the letters by saying the African
Chapter 4 Prejudice and Discrimination 147

American students probably did something to deserve it. The study showed that clear
antiracist statements (the person should be expelled) set a tone for other students
that discouraged the expression of racial sentiment. Because, as we have seen, racial
stereotypes are automatically activated and resistant to change, the best way to discourage
racial behavior is through the strong expression of social norms”disapproval from
students, campus leaders, and the whole college community (Cook, 1984).
Another kind of prejudice, heterosexism, has been de¬‚ected in recent years by
appeal to social norms as well as by the threat of social sanctions. The Gay and Lesbian
Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), increasingly supported by public opinion, has
targeted pop musicians who sing antigay lyrics and make antigay statements. In 2004,
GLAAD issued a statement denouncing singer Beenie Man for his antigay lyrics. One
of Manʼs songs included lyrics such as “Iʼm dreaming of a new Jamaica; weʼve come
to execute all the gays” (Testone, 2004). As a result of pressure from gay rights groups,
MTV cancelled an appearance by Man on its music awards show in 2005.

Reducing Prejudice through Training
Another strategy employed to reduce prejudice is training individuals to associate posi-
tive characteristics to out-group members or to dissociate negative traits from those
members. This strategy has been adopted in many contexts. Industries, colleges and
universities, and even elementary and high school programs emphasize diversity and
attempt to improve intergroup relations and reduce prejudice and stereotyping. In this
section we will see if such strategies are effective.
Evidence for the effectiveness of training against stereotypes was found in an
experiment by Kawakami, Dovidio, Moll, Hermsen, and Russin (2000). Kawakami et
al. had participants respond to photographs of black and white individuals associated
with stereotypic and nonstereotypic traits associated with the photographs. Half of the
participants received training to help them suppress automatic activation of stereotypes.
These participants were trained to respond “No” to a white photograph associated with
stereotypical white characteristics and “No” to a black photograph associated with
stereotypical black characteristics. They were also trained to respond “Yes” when a
photograph (black or white) was associated with a nonstereotypic trait. The other half
of the participants were provided with training that was just the opposite. The results
showed that after extensive training participants who were given stereotype suppression
training were able to suppress stereotypes that were usually activated automatically.
In a similar experiment, Kawakami, Dovidio, and van Kamp (2005) investigated
whether such training effects extended to gender stereotypes. During the training phase
of the experiment, some participants were told that they would see a photograph of a
face along with two traits at the bottom of the photograph. Participants were instructed
to indicate which of the two traits was not culturally associated with the person depicted.
So, for example, a face of a female was shown with the traits “sensitive” (a trait stereo-
typically associated with females) and “strong” (a trait not stereotypically associated
with females). The correct answer for this trial would be to select “strong.” Participants
in the “no training” condition did not go through this procedure. All participants then
evaluated four potential job candidates (all equally quali¬ed). Two of the applicants were
male and two were female. Participants were told to pick the best candidate for a job
that involved leadership and supervising doctors. Half of the participants in the training
condition did the applicant rating task immediately after the training, whereas the other
half completed a ¬ller task before completing the applicant rating task (this introduced
a delay between the training and rating task).
Social Psychology
148

Kawakami et al. (2005) found that participants in the no training and the training
with no delay before the rating task were more likely to pick a male candidate than
female candidate for the leadership position. These participants displayed sexist pref-
erences. However, when the training and application-rating task were separated by a
¬ller task, sexist preferences were signi¬cantly reduced. Kawakami et al. (2005) suggest
that when there was no ¬ller task, participants may have felt unduly in¬‚uenced to pick
a female applicant. Because of psychological reactance (i.e., not liking it when we are
told to do something), these participants selected the male applicants. Reactance was
less likely to be aroused when the training and task were separated.
How about more realistic training exercises? In one study, Stewart et al. (2003)
exposed participants to a classic racial sensitivity exercise. This exercise involves using
eye color as a basis for discrimination. For example, blue-eyed individuals are set up as
the preferred group and brown-eyed individuals in the subordinate group. During the
exercise the blue-eyed individuals are treated better, given more privileges, and given
preferential treatment. Participants in a control group did not go through this exercise.
The results showed that participants in the exercise group showed more positive atti-
tudes toward Asians and Latinos than participants in the control group (the exercise
produced only marginally better attitudes toward African Americans). Participants in
the exercise group also expressed more displeasure with themselves when they caught
themselves thinking prejudicial thoughts.
Hogan and Mallot (2005) assessed whether students enrolled in a course on race and
gender experienced a reduction in prejudice (measured by the Modern Racism Scale).
Participants in the study were students who were either currently enrolled in the course,
had taken the course in the past, or had not taken the course. Hogan and Miller found that
participants who were currently enrolled in the class showed less racial prejudice than
participants in the other two groups. The fact that the participants who had completed
the course showed more prejudice than those currently enrolled suggested to Hogan
and Miller that the effects of the race/gender course were temporary.
What is clear from these studies is that there is no simple, consistent effect of train-
ing on racial prejudice. Of course, this conclusion is based on only a few studies. More
research is needed to determine the extent to which diversity or racial sensitivity train-
ing will reduce prejudice.

A Success Story: The Disarming of Racism in the U.S. Army
During the Vietnam War, race relations in the U.S. Army were abysmal (Moskos, 1991).
Fights between white and African American soldiers were commonplace in army life in
the 1970s. By the early 1980s, the army was making an organized and determined effort
to eliminate racial prejudice and animosities. It appears to have succeeded admirably.
Many of the strategies the army used are based on principles discussed in this chapter.
Letʼs consider what they were.

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