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Prejudice without prejudice? Beliefs about the malleability of prejudice shape cross-race interactions

Author: Priyanka Bangard Carr; Carol S Dweck; Nalini Ambady; Gregory M Walton; Stanford University. Department of Psychology.
Publisher: 2012.
Dissertation: Thesis (Ph. D.)--Stanford University, 2012.
Edition/Format:   Thesis/dissertation : Document : Thesis/dissertation : eBook   Computer File : English
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
Prejudiced behavior is typically seen as emanating from individuals' prejudiced attitudes. This dissertation reports nine studies that find that majority-group members' beliefs about the malleability of prejudice can create prejudiced behavior, above and beyond people's actual prejudice. In Study 1, I developed and validated a new scale to measure individuals' beliefs about the malleability of prejudice-- their  Read more...
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Details

Material Type: Document, Thesis/dissertation, Internet resource
Document Type: Internet Resource, Computer File
All Authors / Contributors: Priyanka Bangard Carr; Carol S Dweck; Nalini Ambady; Gregory M Walton; Stanford University. Department of Psychology.
OCLC Number: 794730522
Notes: Submitted to the Department of Psychology.
Description: 1 online resource.
Responsibility: Priyanka Bangard Carr.

Abstract:

Prejudiced behavior is typically seen as emanating from individuals' prejudiced attitudes. This dissertation reports nine studies that find that majority-group members' beliefs about the malleability of prejudice can create prejudiced behavior, above and beyond people's actual prejudice. In Study 1, I developed and validated a new scale to measure individuals' beliefs about the malleability of prejudice-- their beliefs about whether prejudice is amenable to change or not. Using this scale, Study 1 found that majority-group members' beliefs about the malleability of prejudice predict their interest in engaging in cross-race interactions and their interest in activities that touch upon race or diversity. Those who believed prejudice was relatively fixed or unchangeable (those who possessed a fixed belief) were less interested in these interactions and activities than those who thought prejudice could change (those who possessed a malleable belief). Studies 2-4 replicated the central finding of Study 1: A belief that prejudice is fixed was associated with less interest in cross-race interactions. Further, Studies 2-4 clarified that the effects are driven by people's beliefs about their prejudice. The reported association emerged above and beyond majority-group members' explicit prejudice (Study 2), internal and external motivation to respond without prejudice (Study 3), and beliefs about the malleability of personality in general (Study 2). In addition, Study 3 found that people's own beliefs about prejudice rather than their perceptions of other people's beliefs about prejudice are associated with interest in cross-race interactions. Study 4 elucidated that people's beliefs about their own group's rather than other groups' prejudice contributes to the reported effects. Study 5 examined behaviors in cross-race interactions and found that majority-group members with a more fixed rather than malleable belief about prejudice, though they were no more implicitly prejudiced, were more avoidant and anxious in cross-race interactions (but not same-race ones). Study 6 found that a fixed belief about prejudice is also associated with disinterest in working to reduce prejudice. The next set of studies manipulated majority-group members' beliefs about the malleability of prejudice to establish the causal relationship between these beliefs and behaviors related to cross-race interactions. In Study 7, I developed a new method for changing beliefs about prejudice and found that those taught prejudice is fixed were less interested in engaging in cross-race interactions than those taught it is malleable. Study 8 found that this effect of a fixed belief on decreased interest in cross-race interactions was mediated by heightened concerns about revealing prejudice to oneself and others. Last, Study 9 discovered that majority-group members who were taught that prejudice does not change, compared to those who were taught it is malleable, were more anxious--as seen through their behavioral and physiological responses--and less friendly in a cross-race interaction (but not a same-race one). This research indicates that negative intergroup behaviors--avoiding people of other races, disinterest in reducing prejudice, and anxiety in cross-race interactions--are not always rooted in prejudice: People's beliefs about the malleability of prejudice, even among those low in prejudice, can cause them to exhibit prejudiced behaviors. This new perspective has important implications for improving intergroup relations and equity.

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