Cognitive Roots of Prejudice


Topic: Cognitive Roots of Prejudice

Posted by: Max and Gina

Key Terms:

  • just-world phenomenon: the tendency of people to believe the world is just and that people therefore get what they deserve and deserve what they get.

Summary: Prejudice springs from the divisions of society, the passions of the heart, and from the mind's natural workings. Stereotyped beliefs are a by-product of how we cognitively simplify the world. We often simplify the world through categorization. It is through categorizing people through different groups that we learn to stereotype them, biasing our perceptions. Categorization also biases our perceptions of diversity. For example, if we see our selves from an dolphin's perspective, we would all look alike, much as we view dolphins as the same. We are sensitive to differences within our group than to differences in other groups. People often justify their prejudice by blaming its victims, but bystanders also may blame victims by assuming the world is just and therefore "people get what they deserve." This just-world phenomenon reflects an idea that good is rewarded and evil is punished.

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Cognitive Roots of Prejudice - The NeuronCognitive Roots of Prejudice - The Neuron




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