Implicit Ingroup Favoritism, Outgroup Favoritism, and Their Behavioral Manifestations

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Three broad themes that emerge from the social psychological research on unconscious or implicit prejudice and stereotypes are highlighted in this article. First, individuals who belong to socially advantaged groups typically exhibit more implicit preference for their ingroups and bias against outgroups than do members of socially disadvantaged groups. This research suggests that intergroup preferences and prejudices are influenced by two different psychological forces—people's tendency to prefer groups associated with themselves as a confirmation of their high self-exteem versus their tendency to prefer groups valued by the mainstream culture as a confirmation of the sociopolitical order in society. Second, these inplicit prejudices and stereotypes often influence people's judgements, decisions, and behaviors in subtle but pernicious ways. However, the path from implicit bias to discriminatory action is not inevitable. People's awareness of potential bias, their motivation and opportunity to control it, and sometimes their consciously held beliefs can determine whether biases in the mind will manifest in action. Finally, a new line of research suggests that implicit biases exhibited by individuals who belong to socially disadvantaged groups towards their own group may have unintended behavioral consequences that are harmful to their ingroup and themselves.

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