Monday, 4 May 2020

Self-Regulation of Prejudiced Responses. Excerpts.

"Experiment 1 examined subjects' reactions to rejecting a lawschool applicant because of his sexual orientation. This was a discrepant response for both low and high prejudiced subjects. However, the response violated low prejudiced, well-internalized standards for low prejudiced subjects only, so that the discrepancy was larger and more personally significant for low than for high prejudiced subjects. The central question was whether low prejudiced subjects experiencing such a discrepancy would manifest evidence of the engagement of self-regulatory mechanisms that, theoretically, should facilitate the subsequent inhibition of discrepant responses. The results provided clear, converging evidence that the discrepancy experience did engage these self-regulatory mechanisms."

"First, the discrepancy experience produced negative self-directed affect among low but not high prejudiced subjects. Theoretically, such guilty feelings should motivate discrepancy reduction (e.g., Rokeach, 1973) and should serve to establishstrong cues for punishment (cf. Gray, 1982). Second, the discrepancy experience heightened low but not high prejudiced subjects' self-focus. This finding is consistent with Pyszczynskiand Greenberg's (1986,1987) contention that ego-relevant discrepancies increase self-focus, which promotes subsequent regulation of behavior. Further examination of the self-thoughts provided a third indicator of the activation of self-regulatory mechanisms: Low prejudiced subjects in the discrepancy-activated condition were uniquely preoccupied with their personal prejudice-related discrepancy experiences. In fact, over half of their self-thoughts were focused on such discrepancies. Finally,the low prejudiced, discrepancy-activated subjects appeared to attend carefully to discrepancy-relevant information. They spent significantly more time reading the essay than their not-activated counterparts, whereas this difference was not significant for the high prejudiced subjects. The low prejudiced, discrepancy-activated subjects also showed superior recall for the portion of the essay concerning why prejudice-related discrepancies arise. Theoretically, the enhanced attention to discrepancy-relevant information and the heightened attention to personal discrepancy experiences should help low prejudiced individuals eventually gain control over their discrepant responses(see Gray, 1982)."

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- Monteith, M. (1993). Self-Regulation of Prejudiced Responses: Implications for Progress in Prejudice-Reduction Efforts. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 65(3), 469-485.
- photograph by Bruce Gilden via