Social Psychology: Interpersonal and Group Perspectives
In our textbook, prejudice is defined as: ” a form of thinking whereby an individual forms an unfavorable attitude directed towards groups of people, based on insufficient or incorrect evidence about these groups”. Prejudice has been a part of society for as long as society has been. There are many different theories on the reasons for why people form prejudices. The theory of social categorization states that it is human nature to put people into categories based on certain characteristics. Which is also how we form stereotypes. Stereotypes give us a preconceived notion of how people of a certain group are going to act before we have experienced itfirsthand. Basically, stereotypes are generalizations. They may apply to some members of a particular group but definitely not everyone. Another theory, illusory correlation, states that we tend to notice unusual behavior that occurs in minority groups rather than the same behavior that would occur in a majority group. The theory that I find most interesting is the social-identity theory, which states that people are prejudice in order to increase there self-esteem by believing that other groups are inferior to them.
After reading about all the different reasons for prejudice, I believe that it is a combination of all the theories mentioned above. I also strongly believe that the way a person is brought up strongly ties into their beliefs. If a child is brought up listening to his/hers parents talking negatively about a certain group of people it often leads to the child having the same beliefs as their parents. Another possible cause is if someone has a bad or traumatizing experience. For instance, if someone is robbed by a person of a different race they may than believe that everyone of that race is a thief and therefore they form a prejudice against that group of people.
Experience is an important factor in why some p…

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