The Psychology of Prejudice and Discrimination

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Course Information
Discipline(s): 
Sociology
Psychology
Terms offered: 
Fall, Spring
Credits: 
3
Language of instruction: 
English
Contact Hours: 
45
Prerequisites: 

A minimum of 2 courses in psychology or equivalent, or approval of the instructor.

Description: 

Focusing on prejudice and discrimination, this course examines how people influence and are influenced by their social setting. It examines the social influence of individuals’ beliefs and judgments as well as perceptual errors we are prone to make. The course will discuss examples of following discriminations: ethnic, racial, gender, religious, sexual preference, as well as prejudice and discrimination of minorities, disabled people, and immigrants, emphasizing the cultural components relating Austria to the U.S. (with case studies beyond the readings). Students are encouraged to apply theories and research to areas of personal concern.

Attendance policy: 

IES Abroad Vienna requires attendance at all class sessions, including field study excursions, internship meetings, scheduled rehearsals, and exams. Attendance will be monitored and unexcused absences will affect the student’s grade via the “Participation” component of each course’s final grade.

Learning outcomes: 

By the end of the course, students are expected to:

  • Learning outcome 1: have a basic understanding of the current stand of research in the field of prejudice and discrimination within the broader context of social psychology (with more emphasis on cultural components relating to the U.S. and Austria).
  • Learning outcome 2: understand the nature of stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination and how pervasive they are, as well as examine the social, cognitive and emotional roots of these phenomena.
  • Learning outcome 3: based on specific forms of discrimination (ethnic, gender, religion, sexual orientation): discuss case studies and experiences of stigmatized groups in various historical contexts.
  • Learning outcome 4: have increased awareness of how prejudice and discrimination can be lessened (if not avoided).
  • Learning outcome 5: apply theories and relevant research to areas of personal interest.
Method of presentation: 

The methodology will be based on presentations and discussions, video excerpts, case studies, field trips, and group work. These will enhance our exploration of this contemporary area of social psychology.

Field study: 

To be announced; in the past were – for example Mauthausen Concentration Camp (field trip); HoSi Wien & ZARA (guest speakers)

Required work and form of assessment: 
  • Midterm exam - 25%
  • Final exam - 25%
  • Written assignment & presentation - 30%
  • Homework journal, class participation - 20%   

Midterm and Final exam:

The midterm and final exams are a combination of the following types of questions: essay, short development, multiple-choice, and true or false.

Written assignment:

The written assignment is an in-depth research and reflection paper on a subject matter relevant to the course topic. It comprises three parts: a literature review, a list of references, and a personal reflection for a total length of 7-10 pages.

Presentation:

A short presentation of findings in class is part of the evaluation.

Homework journal:

The
homework journal consists of shorter exercises assigned on a weekly basis; it will typically include a written assignment intended to further the exploration and understanding of class content, as well as a personal reflection where students’ are expected to document their own thoughts and considerations on the topics seen in class.

Class participation:

As class attendance is mandatory, simply being present during class meeting times is not considered a part of the assessment. Rather, class participation refers to the extent to which students are involved, active, and prepared when coming to class; this includes reviewing the assigned readings before we meet, preparing relevant discussion questions for the session, as well as actively taking part in class discussions and activities.

content: 
Part Sessions Required Readings Recommended Readings
I. – Social cognition, cognitive and psychological foundations of stereotyping and prejudice 1: Syllabus review & introduction to the psychology of prejudice and discrimination
  • Plous, S. (2003). The psychology of prejudice, stereotyping, and discrimination: An overview. In: Understanding prejudice and discrimination. Plous, Scott (Ed.); New York, NY, US: McGraw-Hill, 2003. pp. 3-48.
  • Prentice, D.A., & Miller, D.T. (2007) Psychological essentialism of human categories. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 16(4), 202-206.
  • Macrae, C. N. & Bodenhausen, G. V. (2000). Social cognition: Thinking categorically about others. Annual Review of Psychology, 51, 93-120.
  2: On perception and perceptual errors
  • Allport, G. W. (1954). The nature of prejudice. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley. Ch.2, 10
  • Myers, D., Abell, J., Kolstad, A. & Sani, F. (2010). Social Psychology, European Edition, Berkshire: McGraw-Hill, Ch.4
  • Reyna, C. (2008). Ian is intelligent but Leshaun is lazy: Antecedents and consequences of attributional stereotypes in the classroom. European Journal of Psychology of Education, 23(4), 439-458.
  • Stangor, C. (1995). Content and application inaccuracy in social stereotyping. In: Stereotype accuracy: Toward appreciating group differences. Lee, Yueh-Ting (Ed.); Jussim, Lee J. (Ed.); McCauley, Clark R. (Ed.); Washington, DC, US: American Psychological Association, 1995. pp. 275-292.
  • Moule, J. (2009). Understanding Unconscious Bias and Unintentional Racism. Phi Delta Kappan, 90, 320-326.
  • Ryan, C. S. (1995). Motivations and the perceiver's group membership: Consequences for stereotype accuracy. In: Stereotype accuracy: Toward appreciating group differences. Lee, Yueh-Ting (Ed.); Jussim, Lee J. (Ed.); McCauley, Clark R. (Ed.); Washington, DC, US: American Psychological Association, 1995. pp. 189-214.
  3: Stigmatization
  • Allport, G. W. (1954). The nature of prejudice. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley. Ch.15
  • Arboleda-Flórez, J. (2003). Considerations on the stigma of mental illness. The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry / La Revue canadienne de psychiatrie, 48(10), 645-650.
  • Major, B. & O'Brien, L.T. (2005) The Social Psychology of Stigma. Annual Review of Psychology, 56, 393-421. Plous, S. (Ed.) (2003). Understanding Prejudice and Discrimination. NY: McGraw-Hill Higher Education, Part 2 (p.69-110).
  • Crocker, J., & Major, B. (1989). Social stigma and self-esteem: The self-protective properties of stigma. Psychological Review, 96, 608-630.
  • Kessler, T. & Mummendey, A. (2001). Is there any scapegoat around? Determinants of intergroup conflicts at different categorization levels. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 81(6), 1090-1102.
  • Smart Richman, L., & Leary, M. R. (2009). Reactions to discrimination, stigmatization, ostracism, and other forms of interpersonal rejection: A multimotive model. Psychological Review, 116(2), 365-383.
  • Tomura, M. (2009). A prostitute's lived experiences of stigma. Journal of Phenomenological Psychology, 40(1), 51-84.
  4: The psychology of exclusion – antecedents of prejudice
  • Allport, G. W. (1954). The nature of prejudice. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley. Ch.4
  • Fein, S., & Spencer, S. (1997). Prejudice as self-image maintenance: Affirming the self through derogating others. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 73, 31-44.
  • Gaines, S. O., & Reed, E. S. (1995). Prejudice: From Allport to Dubois. American Psychologist, 50(2), 96-103.
  • Myers, D., Abell, J., Kolstad, A. & Sani, F. (2010). Social Psychology, European Edition, Berkshire: McGraw-Hill, Ch.14
  • Dambrun, M. (2004). Belief in paranormal determinism as a source of prejudice toward disadvantaged groups: 'The Dark Side of Stars'. Belief in paranormal determinism as a source of prejudice toward disadvantaged groups: 'The Dark Side of Stars'. Social Behavior and Personality, 32(7), 627-636.
  • Rudman, L. A. (2004). Social justice in our minds, homes, and society: The nature, causes, and consequences of implicit bias. Social Justice Research, 17(2), 129-142.
II. – Discrimination 5: Racism
  • Allport, G. W. (1954). The nature of prejudice. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley. Ch.7, 22
  • Dovidio, J.F., Gaertner, S.L. & Pearson, A.R. (2005). On the Nature of Prejudice: The Psychological Foundations of Hate. In: The psychology of hate. Sternberg, Robert J. (Ed.); Washington, DC, US: American Psychological Association. pp.211-234.
  • Watt, S.K. (1999). The story between the lines: A thematic discussion of the experience of racism. Journal of Counseling & Development, 77(1), 54-61.
  • Dovidio, J.F., Gaertner, S.E., Kawakami, K. & Hodson, G. (2002). Why can't we just get along? Interpersonal biases and interracial distrust. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 8(2), 88-102.
  • Glaser, J., Dixit, J., & Green, D.P. (2002). Studying hate crime with the Internet: What makes racists advocate racial violence? Journal of Social Issues, 58(1), 177-193.
  6: Racism – Guest speaker ZARA
  • Schuster, L. (2003). Common sense or racism? The treatment of asylum-seekers in Europe. Patterns of Prejudice, 37(3), 233-255.
 
  7: Discrimination and depersonalization during the war – Personality and prejudice
  • Allport, G. W. (1954). The nature of prejudice. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley. Ch.25
  • Monroe, K.R. (2008). Cracking the code of genocide: The moral psychology of rescuers, bystanders, and Nazis during the Holocaust. Political Psychology, 29(5), 699-736.
  • Zimbardo, P. (2007). The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil. NY: Random House Trade Paperbacks. Ch.10
  • Hooks, G., & Mosher, C. (2005). Outrages against personal dignity: Rationalizing abuse and torture in the war on terror. Social Forces, 83(4), 1627-1646.
  8: Anti-semitism – Remembering the Holocaust (excerpts from recorded testimonials)
  • Moshman, D. (2007). Us and them: Identity and genocide. Identity: An International Journal of Theory and Research, 7(2), 115-135.
  • Plous, S. (Ed.) (2003). Understanding Prejudice and Discrimination. NY: McGraw-Hill Higher Education, Part 6 (p. 283-326).
  • Salvendy, J.T. (1999). The dynamics of prejudice in Central Europe. International Journal of Psychotherapy, 4(2), 145-159.
  • Brustein, W.I., & King, R.D. (2004). Anti-Semitism as a response to perceived Jewish power: The cases of Bulgaria and Romania before the Holocaust. Social Forces, 83(2), 691-708.
  9: Field trip – Mauthausen Concentration Camp
  • Berkowitz, L. (2005). On Hate and Its Determinants: Some Affective and Cognitive Influences In: The psychology of hate. Sternberg, Robert J. (Ed.); Washington, DC, US: American Psychological Association. pp. 155-183.
  • Marcus, K.L. (2007). The resurgence of anti-Semitism on American college campuses. Current Psychology, 26(3-4), 206-212.
 
  10: Sexism and gender discrimination
  • Dill, K.E., & Thill, K.P. (2007). Video game characters and the socialization of gender roles: Young people's perceptions mirror sexist media depictions. Sex Roles, 57(11-12), 851- 864.
  • Plous, S. (Ed.) (2003). Understanding Prejudice and Discrimination. NY: McGraw-Hill Higher Education, Part 5 (p. 213-271).
  • Yao, M.Z., Mahood, C., & Linz, D. (2010). Sexual priming, gender stereotyping, and likelihood to sexually harass: Examining the cognitive effects of playing a sexually-explicit video game. Sex Roles, 62(1-2), 77-88
  • Nye, C.D., Brummel, B.J.,& Drasgow, F. (2009). Differentiating gender discrimination and sexist behavior: An examination of antecedents and outcomes. Military Psychology, 21(3), 299-314.
  • Sipe, S., Johnson, C.D., & Fisher, D.K. (2009). University students' perceptions of gender discrimination in the workplace: Reality versus fiction. Journal of Education for Business, 84(6), 339-349.
  11: Midterm Exam    
  12: Heterosexism vs. homosexuality
  • Lance, L.M. (2002). Heterosexism and homophobia among college students. College Student Journal, 36(3), 410-414.
  • Plous, S. (Ed.) (2003). Understanding Prejudice and Discrimination. NY: McGraw-Hill Higher Education, Part 8 (p. 375-424).
  • Simoni, J.M., & Walters, K.L. (2001). Heterosexual identity and heterosexism: Recognizing privilege to reduce prejudice. Journal of Homosexuality, 41(1), 157-172.
  • Szymanski, D.M., Kashubeck-West, S., & Meyer, J. (2008). Internalized heterosexism: A historical and theoretical overview. The Counseling Psychologist, 36(4), 510-524.
  13: Heterosexism – Guest speaker HoSi Wien
  • Walls, N. E. (2008). Toward a multidimensional understanding of heterosexism: The changing nature of prejudice. Journal of Homosexuality, 55(1), 20-70.
 
III. – Bridging the gap: Reducing and coping with prejudice & discrimination 14: Making connections
  • Allport, G. W. (1954). The nature of prejudice. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley. Ch.30
  • Pettigrew, T. F. (1998). Intergroup contact theory. Annual Review of Psychology, 49, 65- 85.
  • Plous, S. (Ed.) (2003). Understanding Prejudice and Discrimination. NY: McGraw-Hill Higher Education, Part 9 (p. 425-462).
  • Vescio, T. K., Sechrist, G. B., & Paolucci, M. P. (2003). Perspective taking and prejudice reduction: The mediational role of empathy arousal and situational attributions. European Journal of Social Psychology, 33, 455-472.
  15: Social influence & coping strategies
  • Allport, G. W. (1954). The nature of prejudice. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley. Ch.17
  • Shih, M. (2004). Positive Stigma: Examining Resilience and Empowerment in Overcoming
 
  16: Reducing prejudice
  • Allport, G. W. (1954). The nature of prejudice. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley. Ch.27
  • Crisp, R.J., & Turner, R.N. (2009). Can imagined interactions produce positive perceptions?: Reducing prejudice through simulated social contact. American Psychologist, 64(4), 231-240
  • Zimbardo, P. (2007). The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil. NY: Random House Trade Paperbacks. Ch.11
 
  17: Solutions for less discrimination
  • Fryberg, S.A., & Townsend, S.S.M. (2008). The psychology of invisibility In: Commemorating Brown: The social psychology of racism and discrimination. Adams, Glenn (Ed.); Biernat, Monica (Ed.); Branscombe, Nyla R. (Ed.); Crandall, Christian S. (Ed.); Wrightsman, Lawrence S. (Ed.); Washington, DC, US: American Psychological Association, pp. 173-193.
  • Plous, S. (Ed.) (2003). Understanding Prejudice and Discrimination. NY: McGraw-Hill Higher Education, Part 10 (p. 463-506).
  • Singletary, S.L., & Hebl, M.R. (2009). Compensatory strategies for reducing interpersonal discrimination: The effectiveness of acknowledgments, increased positivity, and individuating information. Journal of Applied Psychology, 94(3), 797-805.
 
  18: Student Presentations    
  19: Final Exam    

 

Required readings: 

Major readings for the course—all referenced above (session readings):

  • Allport, G. W. (1954). The nature of prejudice. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.
  • Plous, S. (Ed.) (2003).  Understanding Prejudice and Discrimination. NY: McGraw-Hill Higher Education [Reader]
  • Myers, D., Abell, J., Kolstad, A. & Sani, F. (2010). Social Psychology, European Edition, Berkshire: McGraw-Hill.
  • Zimbardo, P. (2007). The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil. NY: Random House Trade Paperbacks.