The Acquisition of Prejudice Essay

The word ‘prejudice’ comes from the Latin word pre-judicium. which means ‘pre-judgment’ . Without analyzing a individual on his or her ain worth. one has already adopted a negative attitude that implies a judgement. A bias is a mixture of beliefs and feelings that predisposes people to react positively or negatively to members of a peculiar group. Prejudice is defined as a positive or negative attitude based on information or cognition that is either irrational. unrelated to world. or a deformation of fact. and that is discriminatorily generalized to all the members of a group. As with other attitudes. bias can be thought of as consisting of three constituents: classical conditioning. operant conditioning. and cognitive-social acquisition.

Classical conditioning is a basic signifier of acquisition in which an being involuntarily learns to tie in stimulations. A antecedently impersonal stimulation is paired with an innate stimulation to arouse a learned response that is indistinguishable or really similar to the innate response. Classical conditioning is considered to be a chief factor in bias because the behaviour has to be learned. The grounds that supports this thought is from the Clark survey in the 1930’s. This survey showed that kids ( Caucasic and African American ) both preferred a ‘white’ doll and proclaimed the ‘black’ doll to be bad. This response is learned because for some ground white is looked upon as superior and black is a colour that symbolizes immorality.

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Although this survey was conducted many old ages ago. a follow-up survey in the 1980’s proved that the bulk of kids still preferred the white doll. Most classical conditioning can be spotted during childhood because many kids will larn to react to stimuli in the same ways as their parents would. Very immature kids. who have non yet been conditioned. demo no penchant to either of the dolls. Another possible factor may be that one has had a negative experience with a specific group. doing him or her react negatively when the stimulation returns.

Operant conditioning is larning based on effects. Behaviors are strengthened if followed by support and diminished if followed by penalty. One may go bias if the behaviour is reinforced. For illustration. if take downing others additions attending and blessing from others. it is being reinforced. Support may be deliberate or accidental. One may besides hold had a negative experience with a member of a peculiar group. hence ‘labeling’ all members of the group the same. Punishment can assist weaken this behaviour. but it is difficult to administrate it systematically and instantly in order to be effectual. Inconsistent penalty will increase the likeliness of this behaviour to happen more frequently.

Cognitive-social acquisition is a theory of larning that emphasizes the function of idea and societal acquisition in behaviour. In add-on to what we learn from household. friends. and group ranks. the media besides contributes to the negative behaviours thought about specific groups of persons. When people. particularly kids. see prejudice around them in mundane life. they seem to believe it is normal to handle others in the same manner. This changeless exposure of bias reinforces the thought that these behaviours come of course.

Although bias is non every bit common as it was earlier. it can still be found against many groups that propose originality or merely. something different. If society can happen a manner to forestall the support of these behaviours. it can assist to extinguish bias against any group. whether they are of different race. sexual orientation. or beliefs.