Stereotyping, Discrimination & Prejudice Research


Rubin et al (1977)

Aim: To find out if new parents stereotype their babies.

Method: Parents were asked to describe  their babies within 24 hours of the baby being born.

Results: They found that parents of baby boys descibed them as being alert and strong, whereas parents of baby girls described babies as soft and delicate.

Conclusion: Parents stereotype their children from a very young age despite no stereotypical behaviour being shown.

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Barrett and Short (1992)

Aim: To look at the development of prejudice among youn children.

Method: Researchers interviewd 216 english children aged between 5 and 10 yrs old, on their views and opinions on people from different european countries.

Results: It was found that, at this age, children already demonstrated more positive views towards some european groups than to others. They found that the Germans were liked the least while the French were liked the most, despite the children having no factual information on these nationalities.

Conclusion: By the age of 10, children already hold prejudiced views towards other nationalities.

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Adorno (1950)

Aim: To find out if there is a relationship between a person's personality type and prejudiced beliefs.

Method: Hundreds of people were interviewed and tested using the F scale (involved being given a series of statemenrs and they had to agree or disagree with them)

Results: They found a relationship between personality traits and prejudiced views.

Conclusion: There is an authoritarian personality and people with these characteristics are highly likely to be prejudiced towards others.

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Sherif (1961)

Aim: To find out if prejudice develops when groups are in competition for scarce resources.

Method: Sherif set up an American summer camp and invited 22 boys and split them into 2 teams - didnt know each other, they were given time to settle into each group and then were introduced to the other group and had to them take part in different challenges.

Results: Teams began unpleasant name-calling towards each other and tried to attack each other.

Conclusion: Competition is a cause of prejudice.

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Levine (2002)

Aim: To see if people would be more likely to help a stranger if they believed they had something in common with the stranger.

Method: A situatioin was set up so that a stunt man fell over in front of Manchester United fans. Half the time he was in a Man U shirt; the rest of the time he was in a Liverpool shirt.

Results: When he was wearing the Man U shirt, he was helped to his feet every time. However, when he was wearing the liverpool shirt, he was left to help himself every time.

Conclusion: When we feel we have something in common with others, we are more likely to help them in an emergency. We are less likely to help out-group members.

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Tajfel (1970)

Aim: To show how easily people discrimination against their out-groups.

Method: 14-15 year old boys were randomly assigned to two groups. Each boy was given a game to play where he had to award pairs of points. They were told the points could be swapped for prizes at the end.

Results: The boys awarded points by choosing the pairings that created the biggest difference between the groups, not the pairs that gave them the most points.

Conclusion: People will discriminate against others just becuase they are members of an out-group.

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Williams and Best (1994)

Aim: To investigate the extent of sex stereotyping across 30 different countries.

Method: Participants were given over 300 characteristics and asked to state whether the characteristics were more likely to be associated with men, women or both sexes.

Results: They found that across the 30 countries the same characteristics tended to be associated with males and females. Females were described as 'understanding', 'emotional' and 'warm'. Males were described as 'reckless', 'hard-headed' and 'determined'.

Conclusion: The findings of this cross-cultural study suggest that there are commonly held stereotypes of males and females.

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