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- Behavioral and Brain Sciences
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- National Science Foundation
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Previous research often suggests that people who endorse more essentialist beliefs about social groups are also likely to show increased prejudice towards members of these social groups, and there is even some evidence to suggest that essentialism may lead to prejudice and stereotyping. However, there are several notable exceptions to this pattern in that, for certain social groups (e.g., gay men and lesbians), higher essentialism is actually related to lower prejudice. The current studies further explored the relationship between essentialism and prejudice by examining a novel type of essentialism—transgender essentialism (i.e., essentializing transgender identity), and its relationship to prejudice towards transgender people. Study 1 (N = 248) tested the viability of transgender essentialism as a construct and examined the association between transgender essentialism and transprejudice, while Studies 2a (N = 315), 2b (N = 343), 3a (N = 310), and 3b (N = 204) tested two casual pathways to explain this relationship. The results consistently showed that the more that people endorse transgender essentialist beliefs, the warmer their feelings towards trans people (relative to cis people) were, echoing past research showing a similar relationship between essentialism and prejudice towards sexual minorities. However, the manipulations of both essentialism (Studies 2a and 2b) and prejudice (Studies 3a and 3b) were largely unsuccessful at changing the desired construct, meaning we were unable to provide direct causal tests. The one exception was a successful manipulation of the universality of trans experiences, but even here this resulted in no change in prejudice. The primary contribution of this work is in robustly demonstrating that greater transgender essentialism is associated with transprejudice.more » « less
Prejudice researchers have proposed a number of methods to reduce prejudice, drawing on and, in turn, contributing to our theoretical understanding of prejudice. Despite this progress, relatively few of these methods have been shown to reliably improve intergroup relations in real-world settings, resulting in a gap between our theoretical understanding of prejudice and real-world applications of prejudice-reduction methods. In this article, we suggest that incorporating principles from another field, social marketing, into prejudice research can help address this gap. Specifically, we describe three social-marketing principles and discuss how each could be used by prejudice researchers. Several areas for future research inspired by these principles are discussed. We suggest that a hybrid approach to research that uses both theory-based and problem-based principles can provide additional tools for field practitioners aiming to improve intergroup relations while leading to new advances in social-psychological theory.more » « less
Prejudice and hate directed toward Asian individuals has increased in prevalence and salience during the COVID-19 pandemic, with notable rises in physical violence. Concurrently, as many governments enacted stay-at-home mandates, the spread of anti-Asian content increased in online spaces, including social media. In the present study, we investigated temporal and geographical patterns in social media content relevant to anti-Asian prejudice during the COVID-19 pandemic. Using the Twitter Data Collection API, we queried over 13 million tweets posted between January 30, 2020, and April 30, 2021, for both negative (e.g., #kungflu) and positive (e.g., #stopAAPIhate) hashtags and keywords related to anti-Asian prejudice. In a series of descriptive analyses, we found differences in the frequency of negative and positive keywords based on geographic location. Using burst detection, we also identified distinct increases in negative and positive content in relation to key political tweets and events. These largely exploratory analyses shed light on the role of social media in the expression and proliferation of prejudice as well as positive responses online.more » « less
Incidents of prejudice and discrimination in K–12 schools have increased over the past decade around the world, including the United States. In 2018, more than two-thirds of the 2,776 U.S. educators surveyed reported witnessing a hate or bias incident in their school. Children and adolescents who experience prejudice, social exclusion, and discrimination are subject to compromised well-being and low academic achievement. Few educators feel prepared to incorporate this topic into the education curriculum. Given the long-term harm related to experiencing social exclusion and discrimination, school districts need to create positive school environments and directly address prejudice and bias. Several factors are currently undermining progress in this area. First, national debates in the United States and other countries have politicized the topic of creating fair and just school environments. Second, the COVID-19 pandemic has interrupted children's and adolescents’ education by halting academic progress which has particularly negatively affected students from marginalized and ethnic/racial minority backgrounds. Third, teachers have experienced significant stress during COVID-19 with an increase in anxiety around virtual instruction and communication with parents. Three strategies recommended to address these converging problems include creating inclusive and nondiscriminatory policies for schools, promoting opportunities for intergroup contact and mutual respect, and implementing evidence-based, developmentally appropriate education programs. It is anticipated that these strategies will help to reduce prejudice, increase ethnic and racial identity (ERI), and promote equity, fairness, and justice in school environments.
Around the globe, individuals are affected by exclusion, discrimination, and prejudice targeting individuals from racial, ethnic, and immigrant backgrounds as well as crimes based on gender, nationality, and culture (United Nations General Assembly, 2016). Unfortunately, children are often the targeted victims (Costello & Dillard, 2019). What is not widely understood is that the intergroup biases underlying systemic racism start long before adulthood with children displaying notable signs of intergroup bias, sometimes before entering grade school. Intergroup bias refers to the tendency to evaluate members of one’s own group more favorably than someone not identified with one’s group and is typically associated with prejudicial attitudes. Children are both the victims and the perpetrators of bias. In this review, we provide evidence of how biases emerge in childhood, along with an analysis of the significant role of intergroup friendships on enhancing children’s well-being and reducing prejudice in childhood. The review focuses predominantly on the context of race, with the inclusion of several other categories, such as nationality and religion. Fostering positive cross-group friendships in childhood helps to address the negative long-term consequences of racism, discrimination, and prejudice that emerges in childhood and continues through to adulthood.