Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Stereotypes and Status

According to the stereotype content model, group stereotypes about other groups vary based on two "dimensions"- warmth and competence. "Warmth" focuses on moral aspects such as kindness and honesty, while "Competence" focuses on intellectual factors such as intelligence and creativity. These dimensions in stereotypes in turn affect the perception of whether the stereotyped group has a "high" or "low" status, and how competitive the group may be to others.

In the part of this study, when the stereotype content model was tested in the United States, many groups tested as “ambivalent”, either meaning “warm but not competent” or “competent
but not warm” (Cuddy et al., 2008). A few groups scored with low warmth and low competence, indicating that people said groups as free-loading and lower in status. On the other hand, in-groups and mainstream social groups were the only ones that rated with both high warmth and competence (in other words, high status).

With this knowledge, how can groups increase positive interactions and/or equalize status with other stereotyped groups? For example, how can groups like “rich people” (typically seen as competent but not as warm) get along with/interact with groups like “the disabled” (typically seen as warm but not as competent)? Furthermore, how can the levels of warmth and competence associated with different groups change, to in turn change and perhaps equalize perceived status across all different groups?


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  2. I think it is important to understand that regardless of the group and the competency everyone experiences Ingroup Favoritism (Capozz & Brown, 2000). This is defined as the tendency to discriminate in favor of ingroups (the groups where individuals feel sense of membership, belonging, and identity) over outgroups (groups where individuals do not feel this sense). There are several factors for this reasoning. Language for one is a major preference that becomes a powerful sense of identity and character where all have egocentric pride.

    Ways in which to overcome this Ingroup Favoritism are numberable but frequently overlooked. Most people strive for high level of self-esteem which is extremely healthy. The Social Identity Theory (Tajfel, 1982, John Turner, 1987) states that each of us strives to enhance our self-esteem which is comprised of personal identity and collective or social identities. Groups make people feel as though they belong and therefore can influence there overall feeling of entitlement such as high importance or high competency. Even a level of warmth towards others could be manifested in this way into something either positive or negative.

  3. Getting back to Allport's main conditions concerning Intergroup Contact, He states that one of the conditions is for the groups to create relationships with one another. I think this is an important part of mending and relationship because most racism that occurs is because of ignorance and blind hatred for no apparent reason. If the two group were to actually get to know each other, they could find a common interest or goal. Because of the stereotyping and discrimination, there is little interest for the two groups to interact with each other and there especially isn't any incentive. This idea was looked at by Muzafer Sherif, in his Robbers Cave Experiment. He found that with a common goal in mind, with parameters that the two groups have to work together to accomplish the goal, the two groups quickly put their differences aside and worked together to achieve the goal set before them.