Which theory of the origins of prejudice best describes the relationship between our attitudes and our behavior? Why?


Alice Benningfield 


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Re:Module 7 DQ 1

Which theory of the origins of prejudice best describes the relationship between our attitudes and our behavior? Why?

When it comes to describing the relationship between our attitudes and our behavior, I believe that the theory that best describes it, is the social identity theory. According to Smith and DeCoster (1998), most individuals feel that they belong to a group. These groups include family, nationality, social class, school or work teams, among others and are an important source of self-esteem and pride (Smith & DeCoster, 1998). Social identity is strongly related to social norms, which are those behaviors considered appropriately within a social group (Hogg, 2006). When individuals adopt a social identity, they often conform to certain norms of the group. As a result of this conformity, when the group tends to expressively act in a biased way toward other groups, the individual often conforms to the social norms of the group and behaves similarity (Hogg, 2006). However, because people need to justify their behaviors, it is possible that negative attitudes toward an outgroup can also develop as a result of the acquired discriminative behavior; nevertheless, it is worth noting that prejudices against outsiders can be directly transmitted from social norms just as the behaviors do (Smith & DeCoster, 1998). Although the social identity theory might not be the only theory dealing with prejudices that links attitudes with behavior, it does give a framework with a potential explanation on how attitudes can be either directly transmitted from the in-group or developed after behaviors controlled by social norms have been derived.

Hogg, M. A. (2006). Social identity theory. Contemporary social psychological theories13, 111-1369.

Smith, E. R., & DeCoster, J. (1998). Knowledge acquisition, accessibility, and use in person perception and stereotyping: Simulation with a recurrent connectionist network. Journal of personality and social psychology74(1), 21-35. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.74.1.21









Jodi Swanson 


1 posts

Re:Re:Module 7 DQ 2

Really poignant insights here, Elizabeth. I’m particularly intrigued by your attention to how the Contact Hypothesis might apply to the current and ongoing crises with refugee migration. Just as you’ve noted, some Syrian refugees in particular have assimilated substantially into their new culture in terms of obtaining and maintaining a living, whereas in others, they have serious difficulty doing so. We cannot know the multitude of possible confounding variables influencing these differences, but certainly some (much?) of this must have to do with the political and social culture of the receiving nation–whereas some of this must have to do with the individual ingenuity of the refugees themselves.


Class: After reading Elizabeth’s post here, consider when and why migrating peoples are received well versus poorly in some nations versus others. With respect to Allport’s Contact Hypothesis, if contact itself is somewhat even (i.e., the native peoples of the nation and the migrating refugees of the nation are in contact with each other relatively equally), what other factors are at play to influence this? 


Dr. Swanson


Terrence Sawyer 


1 posts

Re:Module 7 DQ 1

Which theory of the origins of prejudice best describes the relationship between our attitudes and our behavior? Why?


In relations to theories of prejudice, as a nurture aspect, the social-model theory and theories of identity status and self-worth reflect attitude relationship with behavior. In most cases an individual’s behavior will be reflective of their discrimination, different from prejudice, which is more attitude, discrimination is sometimes the resulting act of the attitude, yet in some cases a person may have an attitude or prejudice towards a person or idea yet not act in a discriminatory manner. The level of identity status and self-acceptance reflect themselves in correlation of attitude and behavior. The attitudes and behaviors will usually be a combination of the roots of the prejudice or the dissonance in personal coping within self-regulation to reflect individual unique traits or impressions from in-group or out-group associations (McLeod, 2008).

Opinions and prejudice are the same in my definition. Opinions do not always have a valid source, as prejudices are not always of reliable or valid information. Prejudice can be developed from personal experience as well as environmental or cultural influence without awareness of relevant facts (Christians. Crandall & Schaller, 2008).

Origins of prejudice also come from self-esteem and self-identity issue. balancing self-worth from social acceptance as with the Social Identity theory division of self from the in-group and out-group promotes prejudice that influence behavior.

Crandall, C. S., & Schaller, M. (2008). Social psychology of prejudice: Historical and contemporary issues edited by. Retrieved from https://kuscholarworks.ku.edu/bitstream/handle/1808/4090/167-188.pdf?sequence=1

Crandall, C. S., Bahns, A. J., Warner, R., & Schaller, M. (2011). Stereotypes as justifications of prejudice. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 37(11), 1488–1498. doi:10.1177/0146167211411723

McLeod, S. (2008). Social identity theory. Retrieved September 4, 2016, from http://www.simplypsychology.org/social-identity-theory.html

Isaac Fanuiel 


1 posts

Re:Module 7 DQ 1

Which theory of the origins of prejudice best describes the relationship between our attitudes and our behavior? Why?

Prejudice is ubiquitous; it humanity as a whole. People are prejudiced against many aspects of identity ranging from nationality or ethnicity to physical state to professions and hobbies (GCU, 2013). This subject has garnered much interest for many years in hopes of reducing the effect it has on those that discriminate and those that are discriminated against.

I often think about the idea that prejudice is a natural human characteristic that has to be identified and suppressed. As we have learned here in this class the processes that we use to navigate the world require us to put things in groups (categorization, heuristics, stereotypes). A negative that occurs from grouping happens when we do not properly group people and this action goes unchecked we can go through life with these improperly organized categorizations. Once bias, stereotypes and prejudice are combined the behavior that follows is discrimination.

Discrimination is the behavioral component of prejudice. Discrimination is an unjustified negative or harmful and hurtful action toward a member of a group, simply because of his/her membership in that group (GCU, 2013). Here in America, this has been evident with the historically poor treatment of African Americans. This discrimination was personified through slavery, jim crow, lynchings, mass incarceration and police brutality.

Prejudice is manifested institutionally as well. Institutionalized prejudice refers to the idea that prejudiced attitudes are held by the vast majority of people because they live in a society where stereotypes and discrimination are the norm (GCU, 2013). Examples of institutionalized prejudice can be seen in governmental, medical, financial and housing institutions.

Finally, I think the theory of conflict is a theory that explains the relationship between our attitudes and our behaviors. Yet I feel that an alternative theory needs to be developed to adequately address prejudice in a way that promotes the reduction of prejudice and not just an explaination of the theory.


GCU, 2013. Lecture 7. PSY-866.


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