A Social Cognition Perspective of Stigma. A presentation at Lawrence University on May 18, 2006 by JOHN B. PRYOR, Ph.D. Illinois State University. Outline of Today’s Talk 1) What is a stigma? Some basic concepts.
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A presentation at Lawrence University
on May 18, 2006
by JOHN B. PRYOR, Ph.D.
Illinois State University
1) What is a stigma? Some basic concepts.
2) Some theories about stigma: Evolutionary Psychology & Socio-Cultural Approaches
3) A dual processmodel of reactions to stigma
4) Study 1: A time course in reactions to a variety of different stigmas - the roles of disgust sensitivity, motivational to control prejudice, and attributions about onset control
4) Study 2: Evidence for two factors in reactions to children with HIV/AIDS
5) Study 3: The unfolding impact of reflexive and rule-based processes in reactions to PWAs over time
According to Crocker, Major, and Steele (1998) "a person who is stigmatized is a person whose social identity, or membership in some social category calls into question his or her full humanity--the person is devalued, spoiled or flawed in the eyes of others (p. 504)."
Girlfriend of Klansman
Kurzban & Leary (2001)
The social exclusion of the stigmatized is found across all cultures and even in many non-human animals. Stigma avoidance may have helped our ancestors survive.
Crandall & Eshleman, 2003
People learn to associate negative evaluations with group labels. Negative reactions to persons with stigma essentially represent a form of prejudice.
People also learn that it is socially acceptable to express negative reactions to some groups and not others (a form of political correctness).
The perceived onset controllability of a stigma is crucially related to whether prejudice is socially acceptable or not.
People have both
psychological reactions to stigmas.
Often emotional, often negative, often involve avoidance
May reflect instinctual processes
May reflect associative processes
Thoughtful, deliberative reactions
Take time to unfold
May involve approach or avoidance
Bring into play attributional considerations – why questionsA dual-process model of reactions to perceived stigma
Processes Over Time
the Onset of Stigmas
Personal Responsibility for Onset
Imagine that you have a summer job working at a hospital. The title of your job is "TRANSPORTATION SPECIALIST." The hospital is very large and has many different units. Units include an emergency room, critical care, drug/alcohol rehabilitation, oncology (cancer unit), cardiac unit, psychiatric unit, and counseling services. Your primary task is to transport patients from each unit to the discharge area. This task includes physically moving patients--helping them to get in and out of a wheelchair. Every patient is required to leave the hospital in a wheelchair irregardless of whether the person is capable of walking. You are also expected to initiate conversation with the patients. In this experiment you will be introduced to a variety of different people. Imagine that these individuals are the patients you have to transport to the discharge area.
Perceived to have Controllable, Neutral, or Uncontrollable Onsets
8 domains of disgust (Coefficient Alpha = .82)
Coefficient Alpha = .88
1) I attempt to act in non-prejudiced ways towards people with AIDS (people who have cancer, people who are obese) because it is personally important to me.
2) I am personally motivated by my beliefs to be non-prejudiced towards people with AIDS (people who have cancer, people who are obese) .
3)Being non-prejudiced towards people with AIDS (people who have cancer, people who are obese) is important to my self concept.
4) My personal beliefs and values determine how I respond to people with AIDS (people who have cancer, people who are obese) more than my concern with others’ reactions.
5) My personal beliefs and standards are more important in my decision for how to act towards people with AIDS (people who have cancer, people who are obese) than is my concern for how others will react.
Disgust Sensitivity vs. Motivation to Control Prejudice regarding
Stigma over Time
H I V
H I V
Can reflexive reactions to
a stigma be activated by
an arbitrary associative
Female homosexuality is bad for society because it breaks down the natural divisions between the sexes.
State laws against private sexual behavior between consenting adult women should be abolished.
Female homosexuality is a sin.
I think male homosexuals are disgusting.
If a man has homosexual feelings, he should do everything he can to overcome them.
Male homosexuality is merely a different kind of lifestyle that should not be condemned.
(Coefficient Alpha = .76)
1) I attempt to act in non-prejudiced ways towards people with AIDS because it is personally important to me.
2) I am personally motivated by my beliefs to be non-prejudiced towards people with AIDS.
3)Being non-prejudiced towards people with AIDS is important to my self concept.
4) My personal beliefs and values determine how I respond to people with AIDS more than my concern with others’ reactions.
5) My personal beliefs and standards are more important in my decision for how to act towards people with AIDS than is my concern for how others will react.
Regression for 98
F (1,97)=14.93, p <.01
F (1,96)=9.89, p <.01
Regression for 98
F (1,97)=10.79, p <.01
F (1,96)=13.96, p <.01
Processes Over Time
information concerning the “other participants.”
Do you belong to any organizations on campus or do you work?
List your three favorite hobbies?
What do you feel makes you unique?
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I am from Peoria and I am a freshman
I pledged a fraternity this year
sports, going to frat stuff, computer games (like Tomb Raider)
After a car accident, I had a blood transfusion. From that transfusion I got HIV/AIDS.
I want to get a Masters & work for a large software company. I want to develop software and some day have my own company and be filthy richQuestions & Answers
Distance from Person
to Control Prejudice and Heterosexuals' Attitudes toward
Homosexuality on the 4th Trial
Time (500 ms. intervals)
Psychological reactions to perceived
stigma involve two processes: an immediate, reflexive
process and a more thoughtful, rule-based process.
These two processes do not seem to function in some discrete stage-like fashion, rather they interact dynamically to influence approach/avoidance reactions over time.
Anti-stigma interventions could attempt to alter either or both processes. Interventions that have incorporated contact with stigmatized persons have been shown to be effective in reducing negative reactions to persons with HIV, persons with mental illnesses, and other stigmatized groups. Contact interventions may reduce reflexive negative reactions.