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Prejudice and Discrimination | AQA B Psychology
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Prejudice and Discrimination

Prejudice and Discrimination

  • Prejudice: Attitude towards members of a group
  • Discrimination: Action/Behaviour towards member of a group.

How it develops

Personality theories:

  • Authoritarian personality - has high respect for authority and is hostile to those who resist social norms.
  • ADORNO – High scorers on the F-scale were more prejudice than low scorers. Also, higher scorers were treated more harshly in childhood than low scorers.
  • MILGRAM – High scorers gave more powerful electric shocks to another person when urged by an authority figure than low scorers. High scorers are more differential to authority
  • Frustration Aggression

Environmental/Cultural Theories:

  • Relative Deprivation theory – individual not doing so well, bad points to other group which is doing better
  • VANNEMAN & PETTIGREW – Asked white Americans how they felt compared with other white and black Americans. Those who did not feel well off compared to other white Americans showed higher levels of prejudice to back Americans.
  • Realistic Conflict Theory – Competition between groups cause Prejudice.
  • SHERIF – Caused when two groups compete for limited resources or same goal. (E.g. limited number of jobs). Explains part of prejudice, not origin of prejudice.
  • Social Identity Theory – our identification with a asocial group causes prejudice to other groups
  • TAJFEL – We see ourselves belonging to categories (E.g. racial group, gender) and compare the groups we are in (ingroups) to other groups we do not belong to (outgroups). Self-esteem is increased by regarding out own group as superior to others – biased view to other groups.


  • Questionnaires – F-scale and the E-scale


  • Personality cannot explain all of prejudice, not everyone has authoritarian personalities
  • Conformity to social and cultural norms.

Experimentation: MINARD (1952)

Aim: Observe how the cultural norm affects behaviour towards the whites and blacks

Procedure:The behaviour of blacks and white miners in a town in the Southern United States was observed, both above and below ground.

Results: Below ground the social norm was friendly. 80% of the white were friendly towards black miners.

Above ground, the social norm is prejudice, this dropped to 20%

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