• Repeated exposure to
an object results in
greater attraction to
Mere exposure effect
• Theory that all frustration leads to
aggression, and all aggression comes
• Psychodynamic theory – assumption
of a fixed amount of psychic energy
for humans to perform psychological
activities. Completed activity =
• Dollard et. al (1939) argued if goal
achievement is prevented, energy
remains = disequilibrium.
• Can only be corrected by aggression.
• Target of aggression is usually the
perceived agent of frustration, but
sometimes the agent is amorphous
(e.g. bureaucracy), indeterminate
(the economy), too powerful,
unavailable or someone you love.
• Therefore, it is displaced on to an
alternative target scapegoat
• If a group is frustrated in its goals by another group that is
too powerful, the aggression is displaced on to a weaker
group = scapegoat.
• E.g. The frustration-aggression hypothesis on the rise of
anti-Semitism in Germany during 20s and 30s
Theoretical principles Historical events
Personal goals Political and economic dominance of Germany
Psychic energy activated Each and every German in a state of arousal
Frustration of goal
Defeat and Treaty of Versailles (1919)
Economic and political crisis (postwar to early
Location of scapegoat Anti-Semitism of 20s and 30s
Adorno’s Authoritarian Personality
• Theory proposed that some people are more genetically
predisposed to prejudice and the autocratic and punitive
child-rearing practices were responsible for the emergence
of clusters of prejudices from childhood to adulthood.
• Limitations: situational and sociocultural factors are
– E.g. Sth Africa and southern US > racist than Nth US – but
had no differences in authoritarian personality
• Constructed California F-scale to assess tendencies towards
• 9 variables in the F Scale:
• 1) Conventionalism: strict following of conventional, middle-class
• 2) Authoritarian submission: submissive, uncritical attitudes towards
idealised authorities of the ingroup;
• 3) Authoritarian aggression: condemnation and rejection of those who
violate conventional values, and request for their severe punishment;
• 4) Anti-intraception: opposing to everything subjective, imaginative,
not dealing with own inner psychic life and experience;
• 5) Rigid thinking, Superstition and stereotypy: tendency to think in
rigid categories and belief in mystical causes of the individual's fate;
• 6) Power and "toughness”: identification with those who own power,
exaggerate importance of strength, toughness, discipline;
• 7) Destructiveness and cynism - rejection of compassion and
empathy, generalised hostility;
• 8) Projectivity - projection of inner unconscious impulses onto the
outer world, belief that world is dominated by secret and dangerous
• 9) Sex: overemphasised interest in sexual deviations, false morality
• Problems with the theory:
• Prejudice within a society can change very quickly – e.g.
Germany in 1930s, US following Pearl Harbor – not
consistent with Adorno’s idea that prejudice always goes
back to childhood/genetics.
• Cannot easily account for prejudice affecting large
groups/whole societies e.g. South Africa under apartheid
• The theory that similar beliefs promote liking and social
harmony among people while dissimilar beliefs produce
dislike and prejudice.
• Groups competing for valuable and scarce resources will
develop prejudices against the opposing group.
– E.g. Sherif’s “Robbers Cave” experiment
– ‘Immigrants take our jobs’
– Cronulla beach as the resource to obtain
– Brewer and Campbell (1976) surveyed 30 African tribal groups and
found greater derogation of tribal outgroups that lived close by and
therefore more likely to be direct competitors for scarce resources
(i.e. water and land)
Levine and Campbells – Realistic Conflict
Sherif - Robbers Cave (1966)
• Phase 1 – In-Group Formation: Two groups of
boys transported to camp separated. Form
friendships. Unaware of the other group. Each
had a group name (Rattlers vs Eagles)
• Phase 2 – Friction: Two groups brought together
in intergroup competitions. Produced hostility,
competition. Ethnocentrisms amplified with
intergroup aggression and ingroup solidarity.
• Phase 3 – Integration: Bringing the two groups
together through superordinate goals.
• Questions over the validity of the Robber’s Cave study:
– Unrepresentative samples (US American boys; limited
– Contrived & artificial situation
• Competition does not always create prejudice (e.g.
Tyerman & Spencer’s study with UK scouts)
• The short-term nature of the groups established in camp
studies does not address long-term intergroup conflicts.
• Tendency to consider all members of an out-group as similar
and ignore individual differences.
• The prejudiced individual attributes observed differences as
‘exceptions to the rule’
• Able to recognise individual differences in the in-group.
– E.g. A woman might think: ‘All men are insensitive and
lacking in communication skills’ meet a man who is
sensitive and communicative ‘He must have had a lot
Outgroup Homogeneity Bias
• How we explain behaviour.
• The cause we give to an action is dependent on whether the
action is ‘bad’ or ‘good’ and if the person is in our in-group
or an out-group.
Fundamental Attribution Error
‘Bad’ behaviour ‘Good’ behaviour
In-group External Cause Internal Cause
Out-group Internal Cause External Cause
‘Bad’ - stealing ‘Good’ – in a
position of power
In-group – white
He has had a hard
He is intelligent and
a hard worker
Out-group – black
He has no morals He got there
Social Identity Theory
• Prejudice is caused by social processes occurring between
groups of people
• It happens because of the way our sense of self (identity) is
determined by the groups we belong to
• We derive our identity in part from the social groups we belong
to (culture, religion, profession, football team…)
– Consequently, we feel better about ourselves when we feel
good about our social groups
– We get to feel good about our social groups by comparing
them favourably with other groups
• Prejudice is a strategy for achieving & maintaining self-esteem:
– We will tend to be biased towards in-group members and
against out-group members
– We will pay more attention to criteria that make our in-
groups look better than salient out-groups
• Favouritism towards in-group:
• Levine et al (2005) – Man-U & Liverpool fans more likely to
help an injured person if wearing own team’s colours
• Football fans – self-esteem linked to team performance;
tendency to criticise other teams/fans (esp. if local);
tendency to emphasise other ways of being superior if team
doing poorly (e.g. ‘Chelsea fans are glory hunters, not real
• Most studies show bias towards in-group – not necessarily
the same thing as prejudice
Social Learning Theory
• Acquiring negative attitudes toward various social groups
through direct and vicarious learning experiences
• Parents, teachers, friends, the mass media all play roles in
the development of prejudice
• Consider how minority groups or the two genders have been
portrayed in the media
• Majority of the world population are white, professional,
• Women make up 28% of the population.
• 50% of all females are teenagers or early 20s.
• More than 1/3 of all females are unemployed or in positions
of emotional support or objects of sexual desire.
• 80% of all minority groups are service workers, criminals,
victims or students.
• Over 50% of all villains have foreign accents.
• 85% of all victims of crime are women, young boys or non-
• This is the world according to the statistics portrayed on TV!