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Prejudiced Personalities Revisited: On the Nature of (Generalized) Prejudice
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
2013 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In the media, one type of prejudice is often discussed as isolated from other types of prejudice. For example, after Breivik’s massacre, intolerance toward Muslims was intensely debated (for good reasons). However, his manifesto also disclosed extreme attitudes towards women and gays, a fact which passed without much notice. Still, in understanding why some individuals are so extremely intolerant compared to others, the psychological unity underlying different kinds of prejudice (e.g., racism, sexism) needs to be considered. This psychological unity, referred to as generalized prejudice, provided the starting point for personality theories on prejudice because it suggests that some people are simply more biased than other people in principle. Today it is well known that two basic personality characteristics, agreeableness and openness to new experiences, are powerful predictors of prejudice. However, more precisely what these variables can, versus cannot, explain has received little attention. Consequently, the aim of this thesis was to provide a more fine-grained analysis of generalized prejudice and its personality roots. Paper I demonstrated that personality mainly accounts for variance shared by several prejudice targets (generalized prejudice) whereas group membership mainly predicts unique variance in prejudice towards a particular target group. Thus, personality and group membership factors explain prejudice for different reason, and do not contradict each other. Paper II demonstrated, across three studies, that agreeableness and openness to experience are related to self-reported (explicit) prejudice, but not automatically expressed (implicit) biases. Personality seems informative about who chooses to express devaluing sentiments, but not who harbors spontaneous biases. Finally, Paper III examined the assumption that personality explains (explicit) generalized prejudice because some people simply favor their own group over all other groups (ethnocentrism). Providing the first direct test of this assumption, the results from three studies suggest that while agreeableness and openness to experience explain generalized prejudice, they do not account for purely ethnocentric attitudes. This indicates a fundamental difference between ethnocentrism and generalized prejudice. All in all, self-reported personality seems to have little to do with spontaneous group negativity or simple ingroup favoritism. However, personality strongly predicts deliberate and verbalized devaluation of disadvantaged groups.

Abstract [sv]

I media diskuteras ofta fördomar mot en viss grupp som helt skilda från fördomar mot andra grupper. Efter Breivik’s massaker debatterades till exempel intolerans mot muslimer i stor utsträckning, men det diskuterades inte mycket kring att han även uttryckt extrema åsikter om kvinnor och homosexuella. Likväl är den gemensamma nämnaren i sådana attityder av yttersta vikt för att förstå varför vissa individer är mer intoleranta än andra. Tidigare forskning visar att personer som är mer rasistiska än andra också tenderar att vara mer sexistiska, samt nedvärdera till exempel, handikappade människor. Den gemensamma nämnare i sådana attityder kallas generaliserad fördomsfullhet och utgör grundbulten i personlighetsteorier om fördomar då det pekar på att somliga alltid tycks ogilla/nedvärdera utsatta grupper. Idag är det även välkänt att två personlighetsvariabler, vänlighet och öppenhet för nya erfarenheter, beskriver vem som uttrycker mer fördomar än andra. Däremot har det inte ägnats mycket kraft åt frågan vad exakt det är som dessa variabler förklarar, respektive inte förklarar. Syftet med avhandlingen var därmed att erbjuda en mer detaljerad analys av kopplingen mellan personlighet och generaliserad fördomsfullhet. Artikel I visade att personlighet förklarar den gemensamma nämnaren i olika typer av fördomar, medan grupptillhörighet (exempelvis kön) förklarar skillnader som är unika för fördomar mot en viss grupp (kvinnor). Personlighet och grupptillhörighet kompletterar alltså varandra som förklaringar snarare än att vara motsägelsefulla, såsom vissa forskare menat. Tre studier från Artikel II visade att vänlighet och öppenhet till nya erfarenheter hänger samman med viljekontrollerade fördomar, men inte spontana negativa associationer. Målet med Artikel III var att undersöka om personlighet förklarar fördomar av anledningen att vissa alltid favoriserar sin egen grupp över andra grupper (så kallad etnocentrism). Denna tanke har tagits för givet inom forskning om fördomsfullhet, men antagandet har inte testats empiriskt. Resultaten från tre studier pekar på att, till skillnad från generaliserad fördomsfullhet, så visar etnocentrism i sig inte på några starka samband med personlighet. Sammanfattningsvis så hänger varken vänlighet eller öppenhet ihop med spontan gruppnegativitet eller att ogilla ”de andra”. Däremot så pekar personlighetsfaktorer i stor utsträckning på vem som väljer att uttryckligen nedvärdera utsatta grupper.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2013. , 118 p.
Series
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Social Sciences, ISSN 1652-9030 ; 91
Keyword [en]
Prejudice, Personality, Explicit attitudes, Implicit attitudes, Ethnocentrism, Big Five, Agreeableness, Openness to Experience
Keyword [sv]
Fördomar, Personlighet, Attityder, Ingruppsfavoritism, Femfaktormodellen, Vänlighet, Öppenhet för nya erfarenheter
National Category
Psychology (excluding Applied Psychology)
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-210292ISBN: 978-91-554-8810-9 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-210292DiVA: diva2:662373
Public defence
2013-12-20, Auditorium Minus, Museum Gustavianum, Akademigatan 3, 753 10 Uppsala, Uppsala, 13:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2013-11-29 Created: 2013-11-04 Last updated: 2014-02-21Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Generalized prejudice: Common and specific components
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Generalized prejudice: Common and specific components
2011 (English)In: Psychological Science, ISSN 0956-7976, E-ISSN 1467-9280, Vol. 22, no 1, 57-59 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-141035 (URN)10.1177/0956797610390384 (DOI)000294708600012 ()
Available from: 2011-01-10 Created: 2011-01-10 Last updated: 2017-12-11Bibliographically approved
2. The Personality Underpinnings of Explicit and Implicit Generalized Prejudice
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The Personality Underpinnings of Explicit and Implicit Generalized Prejudice
2012 (English)In: Social Psychology and Personality Science, ISSN 1948-5506, E-ISSN 1948-5514, Vol. 3, no 5, 614-621 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The idea of prejudice as a tendency that can be generalized from one target to another and the personality–prejudice relationship have been widely examined using explicit measures. However, less is known about this tendency and its relation to personality for implicit prejudice measures, like the implicit association test (IAT). Three studies including explicit and corresponding implicit prejudice measures toward various target groups confirmed a generalized factor for both types of measures with a stronger common component for the explicit factor. Personality was significantly related to the explicit measures only. Also, the personality and prejudice measures were unrelated to explicit and implicit attitudes toward an irrelevant target which rules out potential method confound. These results indicate that explicit and implicit prejudice measures tap different psychological constructs relating differently to the individual’s self-reported personality. The findings have implications for the debate on whether IAT scores reflect personally endorsed attitudes.

Keyword
personality, generalized prejudice, implicit association test, cultural stereotypes, personal attitudes
National Category
Psychology (excluding Applied Psychology)
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-208609 (URN)10.1177/1948550611432937 (DOI)000208936600013 ()
Available from: 2013-10-25 Created: 2013-10-04 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved
3. Ethnocentric Personality: A 60-Year Old Myth?
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Ethnocentric Personality: A 60-Year Old Myth?
(English)Article in journal (Other academic) Submitted
Abstract [en]

After World War II, researchers began searching for a prejudiced personality. This inquiry relied, and still relies, on interrelations between prejudice toward different targets (generalized prejudice) and correlations with ideology and personality variables. The conventional wisdom here became that some people are systematically more biased toward all outgroups (ethnocentrism). However, it is not conclusive that generalized prejudice reflect outgroup biases. For example, Gays and overweight people could be targeted by prejudice alike because they are minorities, not because they are outgroups. Based on three experiments employing the minimal group paradigm, this paper provides the first direct test of the ethnocentric personality assumption. We found that personality (Agreeableness & Openness to Experience) only accounted for a small share of the variance in ethnocentrism but, in line with previous research, a large share in generalized prejudice. We propose a re-evaluating the ethnocentric personality notion and a distinction between ethnocentrism and generalized prejudice.

Keyword
Ethnocentrism, generalized prejudice, personality, agreeableness, openness to experience
National Category
Psychology (excluding Applied Psychology)
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-210291 (URN)
Available from: 2013-11-04 Created: 2013-11-04 Last updated: 2014-01-23Bibliographically approved

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