In the following page I will be adding information on understanding the dynamics of prejudicial behavior. I plan to have this page grow over time and anyone wishing to submit information on a study is welcome to email that information to me.

I know of no other dynamic which has been more related to the absence of prejudicial behavior.
1. Children's empathy and prosocial behavior
Parents' use of inductive discipline as opposed to power-assertive discipline was related to children's prosocial behavior. Children of inductive parents were more empathic, and more empathic children were more prosocial

Parents' use of inductive discipline: Relations to children's empathy and prosocial behavior, Krevans, Julia; Gibbs, John C. Child Development, 1996 Dec Vol 67(6) 3263-3277

2. Empathy developed toward one member of a stigmatized group will generalize to the group as a total.

This study was conducted with three different stigmatized groups and seems to be a process that is true across other groups. One interesting and unexpected aspect was that the empathy toward murderers grew over the next couple of weeks after the experience.

Empathy and Attitudes: Can Feeling for a Member of a Stigmatized Group Improve Feelings Toward the Group? C. Daniel Batson, Marina P. Polycarpou, Eddie Harmon-Jones, Heidi J. Imhoff, Erin C. Mitchener, Lori L. Bednar, Tricia R. Klein, and Lori Highberger

3. It seems to be Empathy not Altruism:
Caring about those who are different than ourselves seems to occur as we look beyond those differences and find similarities which we share with other people. This was the conclusion of a group of studies publish recently by the American Psychological Association. The studies seem to be indicating that simply altruism does not exist. It is through the development of empathy for those who are different than ourselves that we discover our concern for others. These studies seem to indicate that the development of empathy is still the most powerful process for reducing prejudicial behavior.

Reinterpreting The Empathy - Altruism Relationship: When One Into One Equals Oneness, by Cialdini, Brown, Lewis, Luce, and Neuberg, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol, 73, No., 3 page 481

Power Differential -
Our perception of prejudicial behavior is clearly impacted by our position of social power and understanding this differential of power is critical to understanding the dynamics of prejudicial behavior.
1. Arab and American auto- and heterostereotypes:
Arabs subjects identified typical American responses better than the reverse.

Lindgren, Henry C.; Tebcherani, Amelia, Arab and American auto- and heterostereotypes: A cross-cultural study of empathy

Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 1971 Jun Vol. 2(2) 173-180

2. The sensitivity of Black and White Americans to nonverbal cues of prejudice
Both Black and White University students were asked to judge the level of prejudice of individuals using only non verbal cues while watching silent video tapes. Black students were found to be more able to identify those with more prejudice than were the White students

Rollman, Steven A.
James Madison U
Journal of Social Psychology
1978 Jun Vol 105(1) 73-77

Stereotype Activation:

Understanding the conditions that encourage stereotyped thinking is key to understanding how to reduce prejudices.

1. Stereotype Activation
There is a which showed that a population of White men in NY who were shown either faces of White people or faces of Black people subliminally while doing a frustrating computer task tended to be more irritable if the face were Black. This was done with independent judges who were blind to the color of the face on the video screen. Then each was measured by another observer after having the computer "loose all their work." and again they were more angry if the face had been Black.

The faces came at a speed that allowed only 2 out of 41 to know that they had even seen a face and none of participants were aware of the color of the face which had flashed on their computer screen. It seems that the evidence is getting pretty strong that most prejudice is not decided at the moment of behavior; but it is part of the perceptual stuff that is carried around.

Automaticity of Social Behavior: Direct Effects of Trait Construct and Stereotype Activation on Action

John A. Bargh, Mark Chen, and Lara Burrows
New York University
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 1996, Vol. 71, No. 2, 230-244,

2. Never Encourage People to Suppress Stereotype Thinking:
The evidence continues to pile up that we should avoid the process of stereotype suppression. A recent study has shown that the process simply makes the people more aware of the stereotyped behavior and more likely to recall stereotyped behavior later. I continue to encourage people to replace the stereotyped images with something more positive as a first step but there are many other things
we can do.

I'm reminded of the first ethical principle for many helping professions that says we should, "Do no harm." It seems that in the area of diversity work we need to have everyone know what is harmful.

If you would like more information on this topic I would suggest the following article:

Sherman, Jeffrey W.; Stroessner, Steven J.; Loftus, Shay T.; Deguzman,
Glenn: Stereotype Suppression and Recognition Memory for Stereotypical and
Nonstereotypical Information : Social Cognition: 1997 Fal Vol 15(3) 205-Discrimination and education:

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Understanding Prejudicial Behavior

Who Can Reduce Prejudicial Behavior

Reducing Prejudices within an Organization

Some Impacts of Prejudicial Behavior

Assessing Your Knowledge of Prejudices

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Some Dynamics of Prejudicial Behavior

Assessing Your Own Prejudices

Our Connection to Others, the Earth and Future

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Reducing Your Prejudicial Behavior

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