Difference Between High and Low Status Women Towards Attributes to Discrimination

3699 words (15 pages) Essay in Sociology

08/02/20 Sociology Reference this

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Abstract

This study is investigating the effect of women who identify closely with their gender identification and how they react when they are faced with situational prejudice cues. They were asked to response to a gender identification scale, which measured they measure on the gender identification scale. The study used 100 female participants and were randomly placed into three prejudice cue conditions which consisted of no prejudice cues, obvious prejudice cues, and ambiguous prejudice cues. In each condition participants were given a negative feedback and later will be asked if they perceived they situation as discriminatory. In the ambiguous condition where prejudiced isn’t sure women who are closely identified with their gender group will make more attributions to discrimination compared to low gender identify women.

Attributions to Discrimination

Discrimination is a continuous issue that exists in our society. Whether their actions are intentional or happen due to lack of knowledge people still continue to discriminate against each other, which is why it is studied by social psychologist Although discriminatory behaviors have appeared to have decreased modestly over the past decades, people face discrimination based on certain types of characteristics. Our race, gender, age, religion, or sexual orientation can make the difference between whether we get a job or not, fair paycheck or even acceptance into schools. Psychology is composed of how we influence other individuals; particular divisions such as social phycology focuses on how we relate to one another. For example, what factors might cause us to help another person, or harm them, or fear them?

Prejudice is a common human condition and part of human behavior–it’s prejudgment. It’s an unjustified, typically negative, attitude toward an individual or a group. When stereotypic beliefs combine with prejudicial attitudes and emotions like fear and hostility they can drive the behavior we call discrimination. Prejudice can come up as a way of justifying social inequalities. This happens when people on both sides of the power and wealth spectrums start believing that people get what they deserve and deserve what they get, becoming what is called the “just world phenomenon”. Another thing that drives discrimination is the in-group/out-group phenomenon. Although in-group identity also gives it members the benefits of shared unity and sort of safety in numbers, this in-group bias or tendency to favor people’s own group at the expense of others is powerful. The implications of the in-group/out-group phenomenon, can lead to a strong in-group bias that often turns aggressive.

  When people experience negative outcomes because of discrimination, they can respond in a variety of ways (Garcia, Reser, Amo, Redersorff, & Branscombe, 2005).  There is psychological ramification of being targets of bias, discrimination and routinely confronting discrimination because one’s race, sexual preferences, outward appearances, and their religion as well. Perceiving that one is a victim of discrimination has important implications for self-esteem and psychological well-being (Major et al., 2002).  When people are faced with discrimination they can either do one of two things: (1) label the event as discrimination, complain, and attribute the situation to discrimination or (2) they can accept that instead of discrimination it was personal responsibility and be silenced. Complaining can bring attention to the discriminatory events which is beneficial, however in some cases those who do complain can be labeled as whiners. Despite the advantages and disadvantages of complaining ,Kowalski (1996), states that behind the decisions about whether to complain or not is influenced by social costs and benefits.

Normally when thinking of victims of discrimination, we think of racial minorities or women. Typically, they are expected to be members of lower status groups compared to their perpetrator (O’ Brien, Kinias, & Major, 2006). However, we see that even high-status members are attributing situations to discrimination and that may have to do with the fact that there are some social benefits to complain. According to Major et at. (2002), even members of high status can feel objective of prejudice and discrimination in a few settings. Along these lines, the perception and experience of being a victim of stereotypes is unique for individuals of high status groups compared to low-status groups. When looking at situations when people attribute to discrimination we see that is because of negative feedback. Attribution to discrimination involves the judgment that an individual or a group was treated unjustly, and it was due to their social identity or social group (Major et al., 2001).

Ruggiero and Marx (1999), state that attributing negative feedback to discrimination helps maintain self-esteem of low status group members. In doing so members of low-status can maintain a positive appraisal of their performance. Stigmatized people can maintain their self-esteem when they are faced with failure by taking the cause of their failure and directing it towards the prejudice people may have against them rather than their own actions (Kaiser & Miller, 2001). But for low-status group members the costs may outnumber the benefits. Even though a person’s self-esteem might be protected when attributing to discrimination, the victim still has to accept that they have been socially rejected by others. Another negative implication that comes with attribution to discriminating the acceptance that things are out of your control. Which means that in the future they start to believe that no matter what they do they don’t have control over their performance. Kowalski (1996), stated that people who complain about undesirable situations are often labeled as whines, and because of this they can face segregation from certain social groups and people. This will lead to them being less inclined to make attributions with negative situations and feedback (Garcia et al., 2005).

However, when looking at high status group members they may have little social cost when attributing to discrimination because they are a high-status group. Not only do they have less to lose, but also they know that being part of a high-status group will not hurt their social self-esteem as it would with low-status group members because high status groups members know that discrimination will be less likely to happen again. Ruggiero and Marx (1999) concluded that high status groups are more likely than members of low status groups to claim they are victims of discrimination.  

Status is an interchangeable relation between people. For instance, an individual will perceive themselves as having high status when they compare themselves with others who are less advantaged. But on the other hand, that same individual can perceive themselves as having a lower status when they are comparing themselves to a person who is more privileged than them (Ruggiero and Marx, 1999). Social psychologists have established that personal and situational factors influence if an action will be attributed to discrimination (O’Brien et al., 2006). Group identification which is the importance of group membership is a factor that is likely to increase the perception that unjust outcomes are linked to being part of a group. This is why those who are identified as a high status group might be more likely to view the world through the lens of their group identity rather than their individual identity. Major et al. (2001), when individuals who are highly identified are in a situation where there are cues of unfavorable treatment, they might be more likely to make the conclude a situation as discrimination. Discrimination can be ambiguous and difficult to establish with certainty. Major et al. (2001) talked about attributional ambiguity, which is the uncertainty about whether the outcomes you receive is about you or prejudices that other people have against you, all due to the stigma you belong in. The study also concluded that those who are in ambiguous prejudice cue could be more likely to attribute a negative feedback to discrimination because it will protect their self-esteem by blaming it on a external factor rather than an internal factor.  Pinel (2004) explains that stigma consciousness refers to one’s focus on one’s stereotyped status, thus those who are conscious about discrimination are more likely when faced with discrimination to fall victim to stereotype threat rather than to face is head on and find a solution.

I hypothesis that high gender-identified women will make more attributions than low gender identified women when situational prejudice cues are ambiguous.

Method

Participants

 Participants in this study included 100 women and were also ethnically diverse. . All participants were treated in accordance with the Ethical Principles of Psychologists and code of Conduct (American Psychological Association, 2002).

Procedure/Materials

Participants will first complete gender identification survey scale as a prescreening that was adopted and modified by Schmitt, Branscombe, Kobrynowicz, and Owen (2002). Participants rated the following statements; a) I like being a member of my gender group, b) I believe I have more advantages than disadvantage being a part of my gender group, c) I believe that being a member of my gender group is a positive experience, d) Being a part of my gender group is an important representation of who I am. The possible responses to each item ranged from 1 “strongly disagree” to 7 “strongly agree”. Afterwards depending on how the participants fell into the gender identification scale they are assigned to either being high gender identified women or low gender identified women. Then they were randomly assigned into three conditions which included no prejudice cue, obvious prejudice cue and ambiguous prejudice cues. The participants are under the impression that they are coming in for an internship position for a journalist company.  Participants will be placed in a group of four; two participants, and female and male confederate. They were greeted by a female experimenter who let them know instead of a formally interview they will be given the task to write a creative essay which will be then graded by a male graduate student. Once completed the female experimenter will leave the room to get the essays reviewed and then the manipulation of the prejudice cues was given. In the obvious prejudice cue the female confederate would say “I’ve heard he always picks a man never a woman”. In the no prejudice cue the female confederate would say, “The coffee they gave was good”. In the ambiguous prejudice cue the female confederate would say, “My friend applied for this position as well and she said that the guy doing the evaluating graded guys and girls differently”. When the experimenter came back she handed out a negative feedback to each participant which said that what they authored wasn’t good enough for the company, and maybe they can try again next time.  However, before they left they were asked to complete another survey to give feedback on the interview process and feedback on their evaluation of their performance. The survey will be given to measure how and if the women will attribute their feedback to discrimination. Participants will be asked “To what extent where they treated fairly”, To what extent do you think the evaluator grades women unfairly”, “To what extent where they graded on their ability and skills”. Then it focused on the discrimination part where they were asked, “To what extent was the feedback based on unfair treatment” “based on gender discrimination”. All items were rated on the scale ranging from 1 “Not at all” to 7 “Very much”. Once completed the participants where debriefed and given information about the nature of the experiment and they were thanked for their cooperation.  

Design and Results

 A 2X3 Factorial Anova analysis will be conducted to examine the effect of the prejudiced cues on the female participants. Moreover, the results will be focused on how women who are high-gender identified and low-gender identified women will react when they are placed in a situation that has ambiguous prejudice cues. I predict that there will be a significant effect that high gender identify women are more likely than low gender identified women to attribute a negative feedback to discrimination. I also predict that in the obvious prejudice cue condition both high and low gender identified women will significantly attribute negative feedback to discrimination.

Figure 1

Attributions to discrimination and the perception of ambiguous situational cue to gender identification

References

 

TITLE

Discrimination is a continuous issue that exists in numerous form and is regularly studied by social psychologists. Although discriminatory behaviors have appeared to be decreased modestly over the past decades, people still continue to face discrimination based on certain types of characteristics. Our race, gender, age, religion, or sexual orientation can make the difference between whether we get a job or not, fair paycheck or even acceptance into schools. Psychology is how we think about and how we influence one another, but social psychology also focuses how we relate to one another. For example, what factors might cause us to help another person, or harm them, or fear them?

Prejudice is a common human condition and part of human behavior, it’s prejudgment. It’s an unjustified typically negative attitude toward an individual or a group. It is attitudes that is directed along the lines of gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic status or culture. When stereotypic beliefs combine with prejudicial attitudes and emotions like fear and hostility they can drive the behavior we call discrimination. Prejudice can come up as a way of justifying social inequalities. This happens when people on both sides of the power and wealth spectrums start believing that people get what they deserve and deserve what they get, this is called the just world phenomenon. Another thing that drives discrimination is the in-group-outgroup phenomenon. However, in-group identity also gives it members the benefits of shared unity and sort of safety in numbers. This in group bias or tendency to favor people’s own group at the expense of others is powerful. The implications of the in-group-outgroup phenomenon, can lead to a strong in group bias that often turns aggressive.

When people experience negative outcomes because of discrimination, they can respond in a variety of ways (Garcia, Reser, Amo, Redersorff, & Branscombe, 2005).  There is psychological ramification of being targets of bias and discrimination and routinely confronting discrimination because of one’s race, sexual preferences, how they look, and their religion as well. Perceiving that one is a victim of discrimination has important implications for self-esteem and psychological well-being (Major et al., 2002).  When people are faced with discrimination they can either do one of two things which is label the event as discrimination and complain and attribute the situation to discrimination or they can accept that instead of discrimination it was personal responsibility and be silenced. Kowalski (1996), states that behind the decisions about whether to complain or not is influenced by social costs and benefits. Normally when thinking of victims of discrimination, we think of racial minorities or women. Typically, they are expected to be members of lower status groups compared to their perpetrator (O’ Brien, Kinias, & Major, 2006). However, we see that even high-status members are attributing situations to discrimination, it may have to do with the fact that there are some social benefits to complain. According to Major et at. (2002), even members of high status can feel objective of prejudice and discrimination in a few settings. Along these lines though, the perception and experience of being a victim of stereotypes is unique for individual of high status groups compared to low-status groups. When looking at situations when people attribute to discrimination we see that is because of negative feedback. Attribution to discrimination involves the judgment that an individual or a group was treated unjustly, and it was due to their social identity or social group (Major et al., 2001).

Ruggiero and Marx (1999), state that attributing negative feedback to discrimination help maintain self-esteem of low status group members. In doing so members of low status can maintain a positive appraisal of their performance. Stigmatized people can maintain their self-esteem when they are faced with failure by taking the cause of their failure and directing it towards prejudice people have against them rather than their own actions (Kaiser & Miller, 2001). But for low status group members the costs may outnumber the benefits. Because even though a person’s self-esteem might be protected when attributing to discrimination the victim still has to accept that they have been socially rejected by others. Another negative implication that comes with attribution to discriminating the acceptance that things are out of your control. Which means that in the future they start to believe that no matter what they do they don’t have control over their performance. Kowalski (1996), stated that people who complain about undesirable situations are often labeled as whines, and because of this they can face segregation from certain social groups and people. Which will lead to them being less inclined to make attributions with negative situations and feedback (Garcia et al., 2005).

However, when looking at high status group members they may have little social cost when attributing to discrimination because they are a high-status group. Not only do they have less to loss they know that being part of a high-status group it will not hurt their social self-esteem like it does with low status group members because high status groups members know that discrimination will be less likely to happen again. Ruggiero and Marx (1999), in their study they concluded that high status groups are more likely than members of low status groups to claim they are victims of discrimination. 

Status is an interchangeable relation between people, for example an individual will perceive themselves as having high status when they compare themselves with others who are less advantaged, but on the other hand that same individual can perceive themselves as having a lower status when they are comparing themselves to a person who is more privileged than them (Ruggiero and Marx, 1999). Social psychologist has established that personal and situational factors influence if an action will be attributed to discrimination (O’Brien et al., 2006). Group identification which is the importance of group membership is a factor that is likely to increase the perception that unjust outcomes are linked to being part of a group. Which is why those who are highly group identified might be more likely to view the world through the lens of their group identity rather than on their individual identify. Major et al. (2001), when individuals who are highly identified are in a situation where there are cues of unfavorable treatment, they might be more likely to make the conclude a situation as discrimination. Discrimination can be ambiguous and difficult to establish with certainty. Major et al. (2001), talked about attributional ambiguity which is the uncertainty about whether the outcomes you receive is about you or prejudices that other people have against you because of the stigma you belong in. The study also concluded that those who are in ambiguous prejudice cue could be more likely to attribute a negative feedback to discrimination because it will protect their self-esteem by blaming it on a external factor rather than an internal factor.  Pinel (2004), stigma consciousness refers to one’s focus on one’s stereotyped status, thus those who are consciousness about discrimination are more likely when faced with discrimination to fall victim to stereotype threat rather than to face is head on and find a solution.

I hypothesis that high gender-identified women will make more attributions to discrimination than low gender identified women when situational prejudice cues are ambiguous.

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