Social Psychology

Student Learning Program

Chapter 5: Perceiving groups (pp. 141183)

What's it about?

This chapter is about stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination. The kind of characteristics that are included in stereotypes can be positive or negative, accurate or inaccurate. Personal experiences, social roles, emotions, and social learning contribute to stereotypes. Motives to form stereotypes can be traced to mastery, connectedness, and justifying existing social inequalities.

Stereotypes can be activated by salient cues, use of group labels, and the presence of a group member. Activated stereotypes can serve as a bias for making judgments or guiding action toward a social group. This activation can be measured explicitly and implicitly. People form stereotypes more when they have less capacity, strong emotions, or more power. Effects of stereotypes may be overcome by suppressing stereotypic thoughts, by correcting for their impact on judgments, or by exposure to counterstereotypic information. People tend to seek evidence to confirm the stereotype, interpret evidence to fit the stereotype, compare information to stereotypic standards, and constrain evidence to fit the stereotype.

In order to overcome stereotypes, contact with out-group members must expose people to stereotype-inconsistent information that is repeated (thus cannot be explained away), involves many group members (thus subtyping is prevented), and comes from typical group members (thus no contrast will occur).

In this chapter

  1. Chapter 5 introduction
  2. Forming impressions of groups: Establishing stereotypes
  3. Using stereotypes: From preconceptions to prejudice
  4. Changing stereotypes: Overcoming bias to reduce prejudice
  5. Chapter overview (PDF)
  6. Fill-in-the-blanks
  7. Multiple-choice questions