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Explain methods used by psychologists to reduce prejudice - evaluate these methods.

Extracts from this essay...

Introduction

Bozena Ewertowska Student ID: 409670 AS Psychology Croydon College Assignment 5: Explain methods used by psychologists to reduce prejudice - evaluate these methods. Assignment plan: 1. Introduction 2. The existence of a superordinate goal that precipitates cooperation between rival groups or individuals. 3. A redefinition of social categories, identities and stereotypes and an installation of a new 'politically correct' model of communication and social interaction. 4. The opportunity of equal status contact between rival groups or individuals. 5. A society that provides equal opportunities for attainment of status or social position for all individuals. 6. Summary 1. Introduction Psychologists have suggested a number of methods and conditions that can lead to a reduction of prejudice that include the following: 1. The existence of a superordinate goal that precipitates cooperation between rival groups or individuals. 2. A redefinition of social categories, identities and stereotypes and an installation of a new 'politically correct' model of communication and social interaction. 3. The opportunity of equal status contact between rival groups or individuals. 4.

Middle

highlighted many of the complexities and difficulties one may face applying this approach to real world problems. A key result of the Hewstone study was that religious identity played a central role in how individuals viewed themselves in relation to people of the same and other religions. Many contemporary problems throughout the world arise from prejudices created by beliefs based on religious identity. Clearly, a unifying 'redefinition' of religions that removes the motivation for religious acts of evil is still a long way off. From the point of view of social learning theory, the Aronson and Osherow (1980) report of the blue-eye/brown-eye experiment conducted with school children highlights how prejudice information can lead to prejudice views, and how awareness and understanding of the process can help be used to reduce prejudice. History, unfortunately, provides many examples of the use of misinformation as a conditioning tool to create prejudice to achieve a particular social or economic transformation (e.g. 'ethnic cleansing' has been 'justified' by the misinformed pretext that a particular race is genetically superior and have 'more' right to life)

Conclusion

A 'solution' is therefore to reduce this friction as much as possible. The apartheid era in South Africa did recognise the problem of 'cultural friction' and sought to address it by separating black from white. However, the separation was not fair favouring white (supremacy) over black. This in effect only amounted to replacing one source of friction and frustration with another. Typically, social frustrations are linked to exogenous economic conditions where the contrast between the rich and poor is clearly sharpened. The challenge for any government to implement a solution to such frustrations may be simply be too difficult, or not at all practical. Germany in the late 1930's and early forties provides a good example of national frustration followed by an explosion of national prejudice and aggression. The application of the 'solution' shaped the history of the 20th century. 6. Summary By understanding the origin and causes of prejudice, psychologists are able to propose methods and conditions that can lead to a reduction of prejudice. However, economic factors, social learning, and identity beliefs based on religion or culture may mean that any attempt to remove prejudice from 'free' society will be met with limited success. 2

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