Gordon Allport (1897–1967) American psychologistGordon Allport proposed people tend to categorisethemselves and others intogroups this influences theirattitudes towards the groupmembers
Ingroups Allport described any group that you belong to oridentify with as an ingroup. your friendship groups peer group family school religion sex race culture the country in which you live AFL team you barrack for
Outgroups An outgroup is any group you do not belong to oridentify with. When we categorise our social world in this way, wetend to believe that people belonging to our ingroupshave individual differences but are generally morelike us.
Blue Eyes and Brown Eyes American primary schoolteacher Jane Elliotconducted a controversialclassroom activity in 1968. One Monday, Elliotannounced to her year 3class of 28 children in asmall, all-white, ruralcommunity that those withbrown eyes were superiorand those with blue eyeswere inferior.
Jane Elliot’s Activity Questions1. How did Jane Elliott create the dividebetween the blue eyed and brown eyestudents?2. What behaviours were seen by the blueeye group (whilst they were the ingroup)3. What behaviours were seen by the browneye group (whilst they were the outgroup)4. What happened when the groups wereswitched?5. In what way does Elliots activityillustrate how ingroups and outgroupscan contribute to the development ofprejudice and discrimination?6. Identify three ethical issues that may berelevant to Elliots activity.
Jane Elliot’s Activity Questions1. How did Jane Elliott create the divide between theblue eyed and brown eye students?2. What behaviours were seen by the blue eye group(whilst they were the ingroup)3. What behaviours were seen by the brown eye group(whilst they were the outgroup)4. What happened when the groups were switched?5. In what way does Elliots activity illustrate howingroups and outgroups can contribute to thedevelopment of prejudice and discrimination?6. Identify three ethical issues that may be relevant toElliots activity.
Intergroup Conflict Intergroup conflict occurswhen members of differentgroups compete to achieveor control something that iswanted by the members ofeach group. In particular, competitionover economic resources likejobs and housing, socialstatus (‘standing’), positionsof power or even politicaladvantage is more likely tolead to prejudice, especiallyin times of hardship whendesired resources arelimited.
Limited Resources When people compete forsought-after resources that theydo not have, they may developnegative attitudes towards thosewho do have them. Similarly, when people acquiresought-after resources, they seekto maintain them. Consequently, they may developnegative attitudes towardspeople who do not have thembut want them, and maytherefore be a potential threat.
Attribution In an attempt to understand our world and thepeople in it, we often draw on our experiences withothers and try to evaluate the causes andconsequences of both their behaviour and ourbehaviour. This process of trying to explain observed behaviourin terms of a particular cause is called attribution.
When you get a poor gradeon a quiz, you might blamethe teacher for notadequately explaining thematerial, completelydismissing the fact thatyou didnt study. When a classmate gets agreat grade on the samequiz, you might attributehis good performance toluck, neglecting the factthat he has excellent studyhabits
According to psychologists, anattribution can be either internal(from within the person) orexternal (from the environment).Internal:If we attribute behaviourto internal factors, wetend to blame one ormore characteristics ofthe person for causingthe behaviour.External:If we attribute behaviourto external factors, wetend to blame thingsthat are outside of theperson, generally outsidetheir control.
Fundamental Attribution Error Research studies havefound that people tend tooverestimate the influenceof personal characteristicsand underestimate theinfluence of the situationthey are in when explaininga persons behaviour. Thisis called the fundamentalattribution error (Gilbert &Malone, 1995; Ross, 1977).
Just World Error The just worldhypothesis, also known asthe just world error, is thetendency for individuals tobelieve that they live in aworld where peoplegenerally get what theydeserve and deserve whatthey get (Lerner, 1980).
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