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Spring Assignment

1017 words - 5 pages

Within social psychology, the social cognition approach suggests prejudice and discrimination have automatic (implicit) and controlled (explicit) components, social cognition considers “mental processes that underlie human social behaviour” (Fiske & Taylor 1991). Automatic processes occur without intention, effort or awareness and they do not interfere with other mental processes (Hewstone et al 2009), they are very similar to implicit attitudes. Controlled processes however, are intentional, controlled and effortful (Hewstone et al 2009).

Prejudice can be defined as: 1) an attitude; 2) based upon faulty and inflexible generalisations; 3) a preconception; 4) rigid and resilient; and 5) ...view middle of the document...

The model suggests that everybody has equal access to specific stereotypes, these will be activated automatically upon cues equally for people who are prejudiced and those who are not prejudiced. High prejudiced individuals wont intervene, whilst low prejudiced individuals will. Low prejudice individuals will attempt to override the stereotype in order to access more positive thoughts (ibid).

Devine (1989) conducted an experiment in order to see whether priming would automatically activate cultural stereotypes for both high and low prejudiced individuals. She expected to see that increased priming would lead to more extreme prejudice for both sets on individuals, believing her study provided evidence of implicit attitudes as to she found no differences between high and low prejudiced individuals. They both showed equal effects of automatic stereotyping, Devine therefore concluded that we need time and cognitive capacity to override automatic stereotypes.

Fazio developed Devine’s ideas by producing the MODE model, which is a duel process model that can help us understand how prejudice and discrimination have automatic and controlled components. In simple terms, it suggests that if an individual has motivation (e.g. the individual considers the task to be important) and opportunity (e.g. sufficient time) explicit attitudes are seen, however, if the individual lacks either motivation or opportunity, or has either, then implicit attitudes will be seen. It therefore suggests that processes are “mixed” and have both implicit and explicit components (Fazio & Olson 2003).

There is a vast body of evidence which supports the MODE model, for example Blair (2002) found that automatic responses to category cues depend on the surrounding context. Lowery et al (2001) provides further support for this as he found that when participants were instructed to “be the least prejudices you can” the levels of automatic prejudice found were reduced.

Dunton & Fazio (1997) suggest that individuals for whom negativity is automatically activated are more likely to express negativity verbally if their motivation to control prejudiced reactions is low. This supports the MODE model as it shows that high prejudiced individuals will express their implicit attitudes as they are unmotivated to control their prejudice. Furthermore, they argue that controlled processes...

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