PSY 3140, Social Psychology 1

Course Learning Outcomes for Unit III

Upon completion of this unit, students should be able to:

3. Explain how social psychologists study human behavior.
3.1 Discuss the strategies for implementing a prejudice reduction program.
3.2 Explain how principles of person perception may contribute to developing prejudice.

5. Analyze the conclusions of empirical research in social psychology.
5.1 Describe the criteria that can reduce prejudice between groups.
5.2 Apply the criteria that can reduce prejudice to the development of a program designed to

reduce prejudice.

Learning Outcomes

Learning Activity

Unit Lesson
Chapter 9, pp. 269–280 and 288–296
Unit III Scholarly Activity


Unit Lesson
Chapter 5, pp. 129–134, 138–142, 145–146, and 149–157
Chapter 9, pp. 269–280 and 288–296
Unit III Scholarly Activity

Unit Lesson
Chapter 9, pp. 269–280 and 288–296
Unit III Scholarly Activity

Unit Lesson
Chapter 9, pp. 269–280 and 288–296
Unit III Scholarly Activity

Reading Assignment

Chapter 5: Person Perception, pp. 129–134, 138–142, 145–146, and 149–157

Chapter 9: Stereotyping, Prejudice, and Discrimination, pp. 269–280 and 288–296

Unit Lesson

Person Perception

Person perceptions are defined as the first impression of other people’s behavior and assumptions or
inferences made about their characteristics (Heinzen & Goodfriend, 2019). When you encounter someone
new, what do you do to understand more about this person? Do you check out his or her environment? What
about his or her physical appearance? First impressions are relatively automatic and are often harmless, but
they can also have particular effects on how we view and treat others. This can influence their eventual
behaviors as well.

For example, a specific piece of information can act as an anchor for building further impressions of a person;
this is called the halo effect. Often, this information is based on central traits or characteristics noticeable
about a person, such as warm/cold or physical attractiveness, that then guide one’s overall impression of
(more positive or negative) and expectations for the person. View segments 4. Halo Effect: Part I and 5. Halo


Social Perception, Stereotyping,
and Prejudice

PSY 3140, Social Psychology 2



Effect: Part II of the following video for more information about the halo effect and to assess how this effect
may influence your own life.

National Geographic Digital Media (Producer). (2015). The halo effect: Parts I and II (Custom Segment 14)

[Video file]. Retrieved from

The transcript for this video can be found by clicking the “Transcript” tab to the right of the video in the Films
on Demand database.

Expectations placed on another person can also, in turn, change their behaviors (in a way they might not
have otherwise) to fit those expectations, which is referred to as the self-fulfilling prophecy (Heinzen &
Goodfriend, 2019). While classic studies showcase the external validity of a self-fulfilling prophecy, keep in
mind that it may decline over time, it may be most influential for those who are already part of a pre-labeled
group, and of course, there are many factors at play in any given social environment that may contribute to
these outcomes.

When you encounter someone new, are you
also attuned to his or her verbal and
nonverbal communication? Nonverbal
communication is defined as communication
without words, which may be intentional or
unintentional. This may include facial
expressions, gestures, body language, or
tone of voice (Heinzen & Goodfriend, 2019).
Nonverbal behavior is used to express
emotion, convey attitudes, communicate
personality traits, and facilitate or modify
verbal communication. Can you think of what
might be the primary source of nonverbal
communication? If you guessed facial
expressions, you are correct.

There are six primary emotional expressions:
anger, happiness, surprise, fear, disgust, and
sadness. How accurate are you at
understanding what people’s facial

expressions mean? Research suggests that people around the world express these facial expressions
similarly and can identify them accurately, so they are often considered universal. Certainly, there can be
differences. Not only does culture influence the way you think, it also influences emotional expression. The
way one culture displays nonverbal communication might be different from another. In addition, sometimes
people might feel one way but display a different facial expression. While humans can typically detect a true
smile versus a fake smile, we are not that great at determining the exact message from mixed emotions or
detecting lies.

If you performed poorly on an assignment, how would you explain your performance? Attribution theory
describes the way in which people explain the causes of their own and other people’s behaviors. Typically,
people use internal (i.e., within the person, conscious choices) and external (i.e., outside the person, outside
one’s control) attributions to explain human behavior (Heinzen & Goodfriend, 2019). Even if one’s explanation
is incorrect, humans constantly strive to determine why other people behave the way they do.

Several theories propose how people use attributions to explain behavior, often set apart by how many
factors are assessed and whether both internal and external attributions are accounted for. People may
simply look for the noncommon effect by isolating a single factor as the differentiating cause for what
occurred. People may try to understand the behaviors of others by piecing together information until they can
determine a cause, utilizing both internal attributions and external attributions to explain people’s behaviors.
Alternatively, as proposed in Kelley’s (1967) covariation theory, people may focus on the consensus,

Nonverbal communication can be very powerful. What is this man
communicating with his facial expressions and body language?
(Ferraro, 2016)



PSY 3140, Social Psychology 3



consistency, and distinctiveness of a person’s pattern of behaviors to determine whether the cause of a given
behavior is more internally or externally based.

As noted, explanations of behavior are not always correct, and the tendency to be cognitive misers (as
learned in Chapter 4) can influence judgments from first impressions on. One common judgment error in
person perception is the fundamental attribution error. This is the tendency to infer that people’s behaviors
correspond to their disposition or personality and underestimate the power of the situation (Heinzen &
Goodfriend, 2019). Based on this definition, can you determine when you might have made this error? Why
do you think you are susceptible to this error? One hypothesis is that you focus your attention on other people
while ignoring situational causes, and this is particularly true when assessing someone else’s behavior rather
than your own, for which you are the expert. The fundamental attribution error may not be quite so
fundamental across all cultures. Individuals from more interdependent cultures are better able to override the
reliance on internal attributions to explain others’ behaviors. They are also better able to re-evaluate the
situation and correct their mistaken perception.

Now consider when you have taken an exam in the past. When you passed the test, how did you explain your
success? Was it because you are a super awesome person or studied really hard? What about when you
failed the test? Was it because the room was too loud or the teacher was too hard? When you attribute your
successes to internal factors and your failures to external factors, you are using self-serving attributions.
Other ways that people engage in self-serving biases is through beliefs that others share our views and
perceptions (a false consensus) and that we express more socially desirable traits than others do (a false
uniqueness). Why do people demonstrate these tendencies? One explanation is an attempt to maintain self-
esteem. A second explanation is an attempt to maintain how others perceive you. Luckily, people do not
always utilize self-serving attributions.

Stereotyping, Prejudice, and Discrimination

Though often used interchangeably, stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination are three related, but
different, terms. Before going further, it is important you know the difference. A stereotype is the
generalization of characteristics to all members of a group and is often associated with one’s cognitions.
Prejudice is a judgment or evaluation based on perceived group membership and is often associated with
one’s affect or emotions. Discrimination is unfair actions toward a group based on stereotypes or prejudices
and is often associated with one’s behaviors. As you go through the unit, each of these will be highlighted as
they connect to social interactions (Heinzen & Goodfriend, 2019).

Stereotypes do not always lead to prejudice and discrimination but are used sometimes to simplify a complex
world, known as the principle of least effort (Allport, 1979). Like other heuristics, developing stereotypes
allows people to take mental shortcuts and create categories to more efficiently assign others, typically based
on obvious characteristics. As with any heuristic, the benefit of more efficient processing of information exists,
allowing one to determine whether the person is part of an ingroup or outgroup; however, it also comes with
the cost of less accurate assessment of the information, leading to overgeneralizations and, perhaps, the
perception of larger differences between groups than truly exist.

The ingroups you identify with are reassuring, as humans are social creatures who like to make connections
with others, but they also reinforce stereotypes by constraining your interactions to those within your own
group. This can lead to an inflated view of diversity within your own group but a diminished view of diversity
within outgroups. This ingroup heterogeneity and outgroup homogeneity, respectively, can contribute to
generalizations of others and broader application of stereotypes, particularly when there is not much
information available to make a judgment. Reinforcement of stereotypes from the social environment goes
beyond one’s own group memberships. They also can be reinforced by what one’s culture labels as socially
acceptable or encouraged for a group. As you will learn in Chapter 5, the self-fulfilling prophecy can occur in
connection with being labeled, such as having a stereotype applied to you or a group with which you identify.
This is another way that one’s social surroundings can reinforce stereotypes and stereotype use.

PSY 3140, Social Psychology 4



A final way that social or cultural
values influence one’s view on and
adherence to stereotypes is through
stereotype threat. Stereotype threat is
the fear that members of a group
have that they might act in a way that
would confirm a stereotype about
their group (Heinzen & Goodfriend,
2019). The excessive worry can
interfere with their ability to perform
well, leading to a type of self-fulfilling
prophecy. There are many examples
of stereotype threat. One classic
example is when white and black
students were told that a test was
difficult. Some students were told that
the test was simply above their
developmental level and others were
told that the test was a valid measure
of intellectual ability. There were no
differences in performance for the
first group of participants, but in the
second group, black students
performed more poorly than the white students (Steele & Aronson, 1995). Other known stereotypes expecting
ability differences between groups have shown similar effects, but the severity of the effects vary depending
on whether the individual is more conscious of the stereotype and what the particular stereotype represents.
What are some ways that you may be able to reduce stereotype threat in different situations?

As you have learned, prejudice is separate from, but can be connected to, the use of stereotypes. While
stereotype content can be positive or negative, applying the stereotype can put unfair expectations and
evaluations on people. Prejudice, as the term is commonly used, represents a negative view toward a group
of people based on their perceived membership in that group. Prejudice not only affects minorities but also
majority group members. Prejudice can be found against many different groups, including gender, hobbies,
and religion, among many others.

The shift from stereotype content to a prejudiced outcome can stem from many sources. It may be as simple
as wanting to prioritize the allocation of limited resources to benefit your ingroup over other groups, leading to
justification that your group is better or more deserving and real conflict over those resources. Sometimes,
aggression is displaced onto a group that is disliked, visible, and relatively less powerful when another group
is frustrated or unhappy with their situation. This is known as scapegoat theory (Heinzen & Goodfriend, 2019).
Many times scapegoating occurs without direct competition among the groups. There are many instances of
scapegoating throughout history. If you are interested in some of these, a search on the Internet will show
some of these examples. Other times, people react with their emotions and try to maintain a positive self-
view. Have you ever witnessed someone demeaning another person so that he or she can feel better about
himself or herself? Perhaps a classmate who did not do well on an exam made fun of a classmate who did,
calling him or her a nerd for studying so much. If there is a threat to one’s self-esteem, a person may resort to
downgrading others and developing prejudices.

Although blatant discrimination, or old-fashioned prejudice, has appeared to decrease over the past decades,
subtle forms of prejudice and discrimination still exist. When social psychologists research prejudice and
discrimination today, they often focus on modern-symbolic prejudice or ambivalent prejudice. Those who hold
modern-symbolic beliefs perceive that prejudice is no longer an issue, so any differences in power,
achievement, or access are because of a lack of effort. For instance, if a woman is not hired for a CEO
position, it would not be perceived as sex or gender discrimination but rather that the woman is simply not the
best candidate for the job. Those who hold ambivalent beliefs endorse both negative (hostile) and positive
(benevolent) views of group members, essentially promoting a specific, correct expectation of group
members’ actions and holding prejudice for those who differ from that expectation. Can you think of any

Stereotype threat can be seen in students taking standardized tests.
(Young, 2011)

PSY 3140, Social Psychology 5



examples where the conflicting views of a group are pitted against each other to promote a singular
acceptable behavior profile?

Most people who read Chapter 9 feel badly about contributing to stereotypes or prejudice in their life, but
despite the fact that some stereotypes develop solely from automatic cognitive processes, there are ways to
help reduce the application or outcome of them in our social world. Stepping outside our comfort zones is not
enough. Increased contact between groups does not necessarily lead to decreased prejudice, but carefully
constructed contact with specific intergroup goals can. When facing these issues in your own life, focus on
more than just the quantity of interaction with others but the quality as well.


Allport, G. W. (1979). The nature of prejudice. New York, NY: Basic Books.

Ferraro, M. (2016). Angry man on his cell phone (ID 76354934) [Photograph]. Retrieved from


Heinzen, T., & Goodfriend, W. (2019). Social psychology. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Kelley, H. H. (1967). Attribution theory in social psychology. In D. Levine (Ed.), Nebraska Symposium on

Motivation (pp. 192–238). Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska.

Steele, C. M., & Aronson, J. (1995). Stereotype threat and the intellectual performance of African Americans.

Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 69(5), 797–811.

Young, L. F. (2011). Adult students taking test (ID 20597509) [Photograph]. Retrieved from


Suggested Reading

The PowerPoint presentations below serve as a companion to the chapters in this unit. You are encouraged
to view them for a deeper understanding of the material presented in this unit.

Click here to view the Chapter 5 PowerPoint Presentation. Click here to view the presentation as a PDF.

Click here to view the Chapter 9 PowerPoint Presentation. Click here to view the presentation as a PDF.

In order to access the following resources, click the links below:

Can your personality type influence your tendency to engage in stereotypes? The article below tries to answer
that question.

Chen, P. G., & Palmer, C. L. (2017). The prejudiced personality? Using the big five to predict susceptibility to

stereotyping behavior. American Politics Research, 46(2), 276–307. Retrieved from

Do you make judgments based on first impressions? What do you think causes you to make these
judgments? The article below explores this question and looks at how people’s faces influence our

Zebrowitz, L. A. (2017). First impressions from faces. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 26(3),

237–242. Retrieved from







PSY 3140, Social Psychology 6



Learning Activities (Nongraded)

Nongraded Learning Activities are provided to aid students in their course of study. You do not have to submit
them. If you have questions, contact your instructor for further guidance and information.

Test yourself on concepts covered in Chapters 5 and 9. Mastering this material will help you complete the
assignment in this unit. Click the links below to view the flashcards and quizzes for each unit.

Click here for the Chapter 5 Flashcards. Click here for the Chapter 5 Quiz.

Click here for the Chapter 9 Flashcards. Click here for the Chapter 9 Quiz.





Place your order
(550 words)

Approximate price: $22

Calculate the price of your order

550 words
We'll send you the first draft for approval by September 11, 2018 at 10:52 AM
Total price:
The price is based on these factors:
Academic level
Number of pages
Basic features
  • Free title page and bibliography
  • Unlimited revisions
  • Plagiarism-free guarantee
  • Money-back guarantee
  • 24/7 support
On-demand options
  • Writer’s samples
  • Part-by-part delivery
  • Overnight delivery
  • Copies of used sources
  • Expert Proofreading
Paper format
  • 275 words per page
  • 12 pt Arial/Times New Roman
  • Double line spacing
  • Any citation style (APA, MLA, Chicago/Turabian, Harvard)

Our guarantees

Delivering a high-quality product at a reasonable price is not enough anymore.
That’s why we have developed 5 beneficial guarantees that will make your experience with our service enjoyable, easy, and safe.

Money-back guarantee

You have to be 100% sure of the quality of your product to give a money-back guarantee. This describes us perfectly. Make sure that this guarantee is totally transparent.

Read more

Zero-plagiarism guarantee

Each paper is composed from scratch, according to your instructions. It is then checked by our plagiarism-detection software. There is no gap where plagiarism could squeeze in.

Read more

Free-revision policy

Thanks to our free revisions, there is no way for you to be unsatisfied. We will work on your paper until you are completely happy with the result.

Read more

Privacy policy

Your email is safe, as we store it according to international data protection rules. Your bank details are secure, as we use only reliable payment systems.

Read more

Fair-cooperation guarantee

By sending us your money, you buy the service we provide. Check out our terms and conditions if you prefer business talks to be laid out in official language.

Read more
error: Content is protected !!
Open chat
You can contact our live agent via WhatsApp! Via + 1 929 473-0077

Feel free to ask questions, clarifications, or discounts available when placing an order.

Order your essay today and save 30% with the discount code GURUH