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The role of personality and group factors in explaining prejudice

By Katherine J. Reynolds, John C. Turner, S.Alexander Haslam and Michelle K. Ryan


There has been renewed attention to personality as an explanation of prejudice. For example, Altemeyer (1988) argued that individual differences in authoritarianism should predict levels of prejudice. The personality approach focuses on individuals' psychology as individuals. In contrast, social identity theory and self-categorization theory explain prejudice in terms of collective psychology in interplay with the realities of intergroup relationships and social life. Based on this alternative analysis, there is unlikely to be a simple relationship between individual differences and prejudice. A study is reported (N = 97) that examined (a) whether authoritarianism predicts prejudice when people act in terms of the shared normative characteristics of their group memberships and (b) the context dependence of the relationship between authoritarianism and prejudice. The implications of the results for a broader understanding of prejudice are discussed

Topics: Sociology and Political Science, Social Psychology, 3207 Social Psychology, 3312 Sociology and Political Science
Publisher: 'Elsevier BV'
Year: 2001
DOI identifier: 10.1006/jesp.2000.1473
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