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Social Pyschology: Prejudice Essay

2057 words - 8 pages

What is the cause of prejudice? This is one of the few questions of interests in the field of social psychology. This essay will evaluate the social psychological approach to understanding prejudice.
Social psychology is a scientific form of explaining human behaviour. It was developed by Gordon Allport in 1985, social psychology focuses on social interactions that cause various behaviours. It is scientific because behaviour can be observed & therefore measured in many forms. This is an objective way of collecting data that can then be used as proof to back up series of theories. One of the main points in social psychology is that it doesn't just focus on motor activities but also on behaviour such as facial expressions which can also be observed and measured. Social psychology is interested in the emotion caused through actions presented that's affected by our thoughts. As humans we are socialised to behave the way we do even if sometimes it means to be prejudice (Hogg & Vaughan, 2011).

What does it mean to be prejudice? There are many definitions of prejudice but the most simple answer is 'passing judgement and/or having negative attitude towards a certain individual or group of individuals'. A saying was once said ''Don't judge a book by its cover'' but as human beings we naturally judge people based on many factors if its hair colour, appearance to more extreme judgement such as skin colour, sex, culture ect. The problem is that we live in a world where prejudice takes place on a daily basis and its all due to social control where we are socialised to behave as the 'norm' that is created by our society. As soon as an individual steps out of the 'norm' that particular person is instantly treated and viewed differently. Due to social control, we begin to stereotype people, put people in groups which we label creating a negative effect towards individuals. Prejudice (Ramsden, 2014).

Social psychology picks up on how people are affected by other people. In this case the main focus is prejudice. How does being prejudice affect an individual psychically and mentally? Well, we have all witnessed prejudice taking place once in our lives & we can conclude that it is such a powerful, negative effect that causes individuals to feel many emotions such as being upset, feeling anger which can all lead to aggression. Allport (1985) suggested that prejudice is part of normal human thinking. Our pre-existing beliefs lead us to make metal categories that creates prejudgements about people that stand out from what we call the 'norm'. With this said we could say that we have no free will over what we say and how we behave. Prejudice (Ramsden, 2014). This is because our behaviour is shaped by a powerful social convention where we are socialised to behave the way we do without even noticing (Hogg & Vaughan, 2011).

There are different forms of prejudice, some of them being racism, agism, homophobia ect. All types of prejudice affect individuals fairly...

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