Main menu


Are you prejudiced?

Are you prejudiced?

Are you prejudiced?

Contrary to popular belief, everyone is biased. We are hard-wired to only remember the things that prove our bias to be correct. This is part of our automatic process. which helps us organize information we receive to figure out the world we live in. The brain is designed to look for patterns and to fill in the gaps in situations to make patterns. Unfortunately, this is how stereotypes are formed (Aronson).

To demonstrate this, Joshua Correll and colleagues tested a group of white participants and showed them pictures of African American and white young men in realistic situations, such as a sidewalk, a train station, a park, etc. 

Half of the men shown were holding a gun and half of the men shown were holding a nonthreatening object, such as a cell phone. Participants were told to press a button labeled shoot if the man was holding a gun or a button labeled “don’t shoot” if the man was not holding a gun. The participants had less than a second to decide and they were also awarded points for correct answers. Yet they were awarded the most points for shooting the man that had the gun. Therefore, the results showed that participants were more likely to shoot African American man whether or not they were holding a gun. 

As a consequence to stereotypes, society runs into a series of problems. The first, and probably most obvious, is stereotype threat. This is when people that are aware of the stereotypes associated with them become susceptible to succumbing to the stereotypes because of the anxiety, fear, and lack of self-esteem.

 For example, someone that is Mexican American and is aware of the stereotype that Mexican Americans are not good at math may perform poorly on a math test because they think that they will perform badly on the test anyway. Furthermore, some people may already confirm in their mind the stereotypes that they already have in their mind, this is called self-fulfilling prophecy. 

For example, a teacher may give more attention and praise to Asian American students over African American students. thus enabling the Asian American students to perform better than African American students.

However, there is a big difference between knowing certain stereotypes and endorsing them. There are steps we can take as a society to reduce stereotypes and prejudices:

  1. Promote equal status for everyone
  2. Provide a cooperative instead of a competitive environment between people (i.e. providing a common goal that everyone can work for together)
  3. Support of authorities, laws, and customs
  4. Provide opportunities for higher levels of intimacy between people including more opportunities to become friends with different people
  5. Randomize groups in schools and workplace further (Aronson).

What is hidden prejudice?

Hidden biases are preferences for or against a person, thing, or group held at an unconscious level. These are different from an overt, or explicit, bias, which translates to an attitude or prejudice that someone has at a conscious level and is obvious and blatant.


Table of Contents