Prejudice and Bias

  • Optimism bias is belief bad things happen to others, but not to us.
  • Covariation model – 3 cues of Kelley’s covariation model:
    • Consistency (time)
    • Distinctiveness (situation)
    • Consensus (people)
  • Take flaky friend, friend forever cancels. Consistent behavior over time. High level of consistent behavior over time, we are more likely related to them as opposed to situation.
    • When consistency is high = internal factors
  • Very nice friend Jim, but one day he gets so mad at the pizza place. Out of character and distinctive. So much more likely to be related to the environment. Distinctiveness = situational.
  • Third factor in covariation model – “group lateness” – if you arrive late at meeting but if 20 other people are late too, high degree of consensus. When a lot of people demonstrate same behavior, we are more likely to attribute behavior to situational cause.
  • Attribution Theory – Attribution Error and Culture
  • We look at behaviour as coming from person’s internal attributes, and as being fueled by situation/external factors
    • If in middle, we are a neutral judge and see a combination as both.
  • But often when we look at behaviour of others, we’re more likely to attribute their behaviour to internal factors instead of considering complex external factors.
    • We term this the fundamental attribution error.
      • Problematic when looking at complex patients – we under-recognize the situational and social problems, and healthcare barriers they can have, blaming them for their own problems.
  • Actor-Observer Bias: we are victims of circumstance, but others are willful actors.
    • Actor
    • Observer
  • There’s also a cultural component: the fundamental attribution error occurs more in individualistic societies (NA and Europe), collectivist (Africa and Asia)
    • Cultures have different ways they explain success and failure
    • In individualistic cultures (Western), success is attributed to internal and failure to external
    • In collectivist cultures (Eastern), success is attributed to external and failure to external (favour situational attributions when situational factors are emphasized)
  • Self-serving bias: preserving our self-esteem, more common in individualistic cultures. If we succeed it’s due to our internal qualities, but if we fail no hit on self-esteem because likely to do with things outside of our control.
  • Stereotypes: Stereotype Threat and Self-fulfilling Prophecies
  • Stereotyping is attributing a certain thought/cognition to a group of individuals, and overgeneralizing (COGNITIVE ACTION)
    • Can involve race, gender, culture, religion, shoe size.
    • Disadvantages: it’s inaccurate
    • Advantages: allows us to rapidly assess large amounts of social data
  • Stereotype threat – self-fulfilling fear that one will be evaluated based on a negative stereotype.
    • Blue and red students, both perform equally. Next time, implement negative stereotype about blue students, blue students perform worse.
    • What stereotype threat is – exposure to a negative stereotype surrounding a task can actually cause decrease in the performance of an individual. It threatens performance.
  • Self-fulfilling prophecy – stereotypes can lead to behaviours that affirm the original stereotypes.
    • “City dwellers are rude” (cognition, stereotyping) -> I don’t like them (affective component, prejudice) -> I will avoid them (behavioural component, discrimination)
    • They think I’m rude (cognition) -> They may not like me (affective)-> They avoid me (behavioural) -> City dwellers are rude
      • Continuous circle that feedbacks on itself.
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