Possible Midterm Exam Questions (for in-class portion of exam)


Unless specifically noted in a question below, you do not have to make reference to specific research in your answers. But your answers need to be consistent with the research we have read and discussed. I will ask you to answer five or six of the following questions on the in-class portion of the exam.

1. a) You were invited by a friend to attend a political rally. How might the unconscious detection of covariation lead you to form a stereotype about one or more groups at the rally?

b) How might the confirmation bias heighten a sense of outgroup homogeneity towards one or more of these groups?

2. a) What does the IAT claim to measure?

b) Does it tell me if I am prejudiced? Explain.

c) Why would its authors say it can still measure what it is intended to measure even if the person taking the test is aware of its purpose and how it works?

3. Pick two of the other collective factors that influence stereotype formation and explain how they influence or are influenced by the role of language in stereotype formation.

4. According to the research, are stereotypes formed from illusory correlations more likely the result of cognitive or motivational processes? Use research to support your answer.

5. a) Explain how the assimilation effect in the formation of stereotypes could be interpreted as a cognitive process.

b) Explain how the contrast effect in the maintenance of stereotypes could be interpreted as a motivational process.

6. Sometimes, when non-African-Americans are driving through a neighborhood and spot an African-American they reach to lock their car doors without even realizing they are doing it. Explain the unconscious processes that are likely at work in that example. Use Bargh and Chartrand's (1999) idea of E leads to P leads to B, and the concept of priming, in your answer.

7. a) Choose an individual factor that promotes stereotype formation. Explain how that factor can also promote the maintenance of a stereotype.

b) Choose a collective factor that promotes stereotype formation. Explain how that factor can also promote the maintenance of a stereotype.

8. a) Give an example of how behavioral confirmation could help maintain someone's dislike of the physically or mentally disabled.

b) Describe how social factors could lead the disabled to embody negative aspects of stereotypes about them.

9. a) From an evolutionary perspective, why is stereotyping inevitable and beneficial?

b) From an evolutionary perspective, why is the "minimal group" phenomenon also likely inevitable and so easy to produce?

10. a) A preference for my ingroup does not automatically mean a dislike of the outgroup. Using research, describe two conditions that are likely to increase dislike for an outgroup.

b) Describe how the spreading attitude effect might play a role in one of the two conditions you described in a).


Take-home Midterm Exam Questions

Answer four of the following five questions.

1. Make the case that top-down processes in stereotype formation are more cognitive in nature and bottom-up processes are more motivational in nature. Or, argue the opposite. Identify specific processes in your answer.

2. a) Explain how ego-depletion, as Baumeister et al. describe it, is critical to the processes of stereotype and prejudice formation.

b) Identify one study discussed this term, other than those conducted by Baumeister et al., in which ego-depletion affected the application of a stereotype or prejudice. Explain how ego-depletion affected its application in that study.

3. Cite specific research (from at least two articles) as you explain how the dual processes of the implicit mind and the explicit mind are at times complementary and supportive of each other and at other times appear to be in conflict with each other. Be sure to discuss these processes in the context of stereotyping and/or prejudice.

4. When is stereotype formation and maintenance a conscious process and when is it an unconscious process? To answer that question answer the following two questions:

a) Citing specific research, identify and describe two conditions under which stereotype formation or maintenance will likely occur explicitly.

b) Citing specific research, identify and describe two conditions under which stereotype formation or maintenance will likely occur implicitly.

5. a) On page 491 of the article "Stereotypes and confirmability of trait concepts" the authors state that "Before we label someone aggressive, or smart, or emotional, certain evidentiary standards must be met." What do they mean by that? (You don't have to tell me what the research says about that; just tell me what it means.)

b) On page 488 of the article the authors conclude "This points more clearly to the importance of outgroup status, rather than cultural stigmatization per se, to this evidentiary effect." Use research from the article to explain why they drew that conclusion.

c) According to the article, it is easier to confirm a stereotypical trait than disconfirm a counterstereotypical trait. Explain what that means by applying it to either football players or movie stars (choose one).