Attributing negative behaviors to their dispositions

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Attributing negative behaviors to their dispositions While excusing such behavior by one’s own group Attribution errors bias people’s explanations of group members’ behaviors We grant members of our own group the benefit of the doubt
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When explaining acts by members of other groups assume the worst Positive behavior by outgroup members is more often dismissed Seen as a special case As owing to luck or some special advantage As demanded by the situation As attributable to extra effort Disadvantaged groups and groups that stress modesty exhibit less of this group-serving bias Subtly color our language (Maass, 1995) Positive behaviors By another ingroup member are often described as general dispositions When performed by an outgroup member The same behavior is often described as a specific isolated act Negative behaviors Specificity reverses Linguistic intergroup bias Blaming the victim can justify the blamer’s own superior status Occurs as people attribute an outgroup’s failures to its members’ flawed dispositions Illustrates the motivations that underlie prejudice as well as the cognition Motivation and cognition, emotion and thinking are inseparable o The just-word phenomenon Tendency of people to believe that the world is just People therefore get what they deserve and deserve what they get Merely observing another innocent person being victimized Is enough to make the victim seem less worthy (Lerner & others, 1980) Such disparaging of hapless victims results from the human need to believe that I am a just person living in a just world A world where people get what they deserve People are indifferent to social injustice Not because they have no concern for justice Because they see no injustice Such beliefs enable successful people to reassure themselves that they deserve what they have Liking good fortune with virtue and misfortune with moral failure
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Enables the fortunate to feel pride To avoid responsibility for the unfortunate Discounts the uncontrollable factors Can derail good efforts even by talented people - Devine’s work blank slate or natural bias? o We naturally categorize Stereotypes are a byproduct of this process o We are aware of stereotypes in society influence us Reflexive automatic reactions o We can try to inhibit our responses requires effort to not be prejudiced Reflective responses o When cognitively busy Even low prejudiced people rely on stereotypes What are the consequences of prejudice? - Self-perpetuating stereotypes o Prejudice is preconceived judgment o Prejudgments are inevitable o Prejudgments guide our attention and our memories People who accept gender stereotypes often mis-recall their own school grades in stereotype-consistent ways Once we judge an item as belonging to a category such as a particular race or sex
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