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Culture and Value

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Culture and value

Attitudes: Attitudes are long-lasting evaluations we hold about ourselves, other people, objects and issues.

Tripartite model: Attitudes are thought to be formed from affect, behaviour and cognition. This is known as the Tripartite Model. 

  • Affective- Relates to emotional feelings associated with object, even or person. i.e, love & hate
  • Behaviour- Relates to the way in which an attitude is expressed through our actions.
  • Cognitive- Relates to the beliefs we have about an object, event or person.

Attitude vs Action: Lapiere 1934  

Aim: To investigate the relationship between attitudes and behavior.

Method: LaPiere travelled round America with a Chinese couple, expecting to meet discrimination as a result of anti-Chinese feeling. At the time prejudice against Asians was widespread and there were no laws against racial discrimination. They visited 67 hotels and 184 restaurants. Six months later, when they visited all places they then sent a letter to them, asking whether they would accept Chinese guests. Of the 128 establishments which responded to the letter, 92% said they were not willing to accept Chinese guests. 1% said ‘yes’; remainder (7%) said ‘uncertain, depends on the circumstances’.

Conclusion: Attitudes do not always predict behavior. Cognitive and affective components of attitudes are not necessarily expressed in behavior.

Prejudice: Unjustifiable, usually negative attitude towards a group and it’s members. Based on visible differences between people i.e race, age, and sex.

Three components of prejudice:

  1. Stereotype: Oversimplified beliefs. E.g All Asians are smart
  2. Negative feelings: Feelings of dislike or hostility.
  3. Discrimination: unequal treatment of people who should have the same rights as others. E.g Stop people getting job.

Henderson-King and Nisbett (1996): Anti-black prejudice

Aim: Negative behaviour of 1 black male would influence white participants’ perceptions of black Americans and behaviour toward another black person.  

Method: Make white students to watch the interaction between an individual and experimenter. Some saw that individual being rude towards the experimenter and some saw a pleasant interaction. For some the individual was white and for others the individual was black. Later the participants were asked to be in an interview for another student. They were told that the interview could last up to 20 minutes.

Results: Participants who witness the black individual behaving negatively had a shorter interview than those who saw the white individual whether they were behaving hostile or not.

Conclusion: the negative behaviour by a member in an identifiable group activate negative stereotypes about others in the same group.

Racism:  It is a form of prejudice based on assumed racial differences.         

Causes of prejudice:

Just-world phenomenon:  People get what they deserve. The people with power, money and status believe they achieved this through hard work/intelligence - the “Haves”. The “Have nots” are poor and have low status because they are lazy and ignorant. “Haves” morally off the hook

Social categorisation: Categorising people in groups. Triggers in group favouritism and out group discrimination.

Inter-group competition:  Groups become a threat. Sherif’s conflict theory

Social influence: Attitudes towards others, including prejudice attitudes, can be learned from people in our lives.

How to reduce prejudice?

Inter-group contact: Helps to break down barriers between people, resulting in more positive attitudes and behaviour. Effective when it continues over a period of time, and groups are working toward a common goal.

Muzafer Sherif (1954): Robbers cave

Aim: Intergroup conflict and hostility arises when there’s competition for a limited source.

Method:  11-12 year old boys put into two groups. The groups were told they were competing against each other and the winning team will get prizes and losing team will not get anything. Both the winning and the losing team started insulting each other and become aggressive. When the groups were asked to work together to get the water system working they cooperated well which refers to superordinate goal.

Cognitive interventions: Strategies that change the way people think about members of our groups. Encourages seeing similarities and cooperating toward common goals.

Individuation: Seeking info about people as individuals; rejecting stereotypes.

  • Re-categorisation: Emphasies categories that cut across basic in-group/out-group divisions.
  • Individuation: seek information about people as individuals and rejects stereotypes.

Race: More genetic differences within races than between racial groups.

Culture: Behaviour, beliefs, traditions and attitudes that are shared by a group of people and passed on from one generation to the next.

Individualistic culture: People tend to think of themselves as separate individuals. Concerned with their own needs and rights than others in the group.



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