PSYCH 221 Lesson Notes
PSYCH 221 Lesson Notes Psych 221
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Date Created: 05/22/16
Lesson 1 Social psychology: the scientific study of the way in which an individual’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are influenced by the real or imagined presence of other people Explicit: within conscious awareness Implicit: operating below conscious awareness Most likely to study how a group influences at an individual level as opposed to how the group operates at an aggregate or collective level Thoughts are cognitive component of experience. o They include conscious and non-conscious processes o They include the content of our knowledge about existence, and the ways in which that knowledge is organized in our minds Feelings are related to the affective (emotional) experience of existence The affective and cognitive aspects of your existence combine to form your attitude Behaviors are thoughts and feelings translated into physical actions o Involuntary non-conscious actions such as sweating and racing heart are also behaviors Construal: the way a person perceives, comprehends, and interprets a social situation Gustave Le Bon (1841-1931) 1895 he published a work called The Crowd: The study of the Popular Mind that discussed how an individual can be influence by the presence of others Interested in how people behave differently when with a group of people than they do when acting as individuals Norman Triplett Wrote a paper in 1898 that analyzed how “real world” people performed better when they were engaged in a competition Tested observations in a laboratory Attributed improvement in performance to the nature of competition and the way people work harder when being watched B.F. Skinner Behaviorist, skinner box All behavior can be explained in terms of reinforcing properties of the environment. By the process of pairing either rewards or punishments with behaviors, people and animals learn how to behave Behaviorism Existence can be understood in terms of the objective nature of existence Interplay of tangible objects and events Sets of environmental events shape our behaviors Gestalt psychology Attempts to understand the subjective experience of existence The whole is greater than the sum of its parts Kurt Lewin (1890-1947) Took principles of gestalt psychology and applied them to social psychology Basic human motives Self Esteem Approach/ Self Esteem Maintenance Motive o Desire to feel good about ourselves Social Cognition Approach/ Social Cognition Motive o Motivated to have an accurate understanding of the world around us o Related to safety (knowing how fast you can run) o Related to how we interact with people Lesson 2 Purpose of research is to gain knowledge A good experiment is designed and conducted in such a way as to remove most of the interpretation that can lead to different construals of the results Scientific Method o First step is to ask a question, called a hypothesis Origin can be based on a number of things including previous personal experience or knowledge of existing theories o Next step to choose an experimental method for testing that hypothesis Once you have results you must share that knowledge o Present ideas to each other at conferences during a symposium, when people take turns giving speeches about their research and then discussing what they found with the audience o Most common way is to write a paper about the experiment and publish it in a journal or book There is a lag between what social psychologist know and what is disseminated to the rest of the population o Can take years to complete experiments o Lack of communication between social psychologist and everyone else o Observational Research Method Answer descriptive questions o “Wanting to know how often people make physical contact with each other in public” Need to keep a careful record of data To improve accuracy, you can have several observers watching the group at the same time Make sure that each observer saw the same things as the other observer Often collected without the participant’s knowledge o If people are aware that their behavior is being observed, they might be motivated to change their behavior to make themselves look better Ethnography: research involving an observer entering into a particular culture and becoming part of the group being studied o Could be an actual society, or a group of people that work together or live together o Found most often in Anthropology, but occasionally Social Psychologists employ these methods o “Wanting to know how often people make physical contact with each other in public, but specifically for people who work at public relation firms” o Likely to gain trust of participants, and more likely to record more accurate information Archival analysis: examining the accumulated documents of a culture o Reading newspapers, magazines, books, watching movies, television serve as a reflection of society so they offer insight into social behavior o “Researcher wants to see if there has been any change over time in the frequency which physical contact happens” o Unobtrusive o Documents can only provide a limited snapshot of what life was like at that time Correlational Method In common language, correlation means that a relationship exists between two things Social psychology, we refer to a mathematical relationship called the Pearson Correlation Coefficient R o Can have a value from -1 to +1 o The sign (+ or -) tells the direction of the relationship Positive correlation indicates that as one variable increases, the other increases Negative correlation indicates that as one variable increases, the other decreases o In cases when the absolute value is close to zero, the relationship is weak, if the absolute value is close to one, then the relationship is strong Correlation does not equal causation Experimental Method Prototypical “Lab Experiment” Can provide the cause and effect Independent variable IV: what the experimenter manipulates to create different experiences for the participants o Different experiences are often called “levels” or “experimental conditions” of the IV Dependent variable DV: what the experimenter measures to see if the different levels of the IV had different effects on the participants Experimental control: creating a situation where nothing is left to chance o The only thing that should be different for any two participants is their experience with the IV Lesson 3 Social cognition approach: use of strategies to increase the likelihood of gaining an accurate understanding of our world Automatic thinking: what happens in the first few seconds of something, things that happen beyond our control and they happen because our brains often make certain decisions without our conscious awareness o Increased heart rate o Tensed muscles o Non-conscious, unintentional, involuntary, effortless o Schemas: mental structures people use to organize their knowledge around themes or topics, a model that we use to help us understand what to do or say or think in a situation Automatic Functional Guide attention Guide memory Interpret situations that are ambiguous o Mental resources: each of us has a certain amount of brain power to deal with a limited number of things at any given moment o Heuristics: mental shortcuts people use to increase cognitive efficiency Availability heuristic: people base judgments on the ease with which they can bring something to mind People believe that you are more likely to die in an accident than from a stroke because the news reports more incidents of accidents, and therefore we use the information available, which is actually wrong Representativeness heuristic: people classify something according to how similar it is to a typical case Errors occur because people ignore “base rate information” Anchoring and Adjustment Heuristic: using a numeric value as a starting point, and then adjusting one’s answer away from this anchor If someone asks you how long a field hockey game is and you know nothing about field hockey, you may think about how long a soccer game is and use that number to estimate the answer People sometimes choose anchors that are inappropriate o Robert Rosenthal: showed that teachers treat students differently when they believe they will do better, self fulfilling prophecy Controlled thinking: the process of weighing your options and considering a plan of action are all done at a conscious level o Conscious, intentional, voluntary, effortful Lesson 4 Implicit personality theories We classify individuals based on obvious external characteristics From information people have learned, either through personal experience or from others, people form a model for what certain people are like When we classify an individual as belonging to a particular group we don’t bother to seek out all the details of that person’s personality Attribution theory: establishing a cause or reason why a person does something Internal attribution: when we say that some outward behavior is caused by the nature of the person External attribution: when we assume that the behavior is not related to the nature of the person, but rather he nature of the situation Harold Kelly’s Covariation Model Consensus: how does the actor’s behavior toward a stimulus compare to other people’s behavior toward that stimulus Distinctiveness: how does the actor’s behavior toward a stimulus compare to his or her behavior toward other stimuli Consistency: is the actor’s behavior always the same toward that stimulus at different times and in different situations Internal attributions o Low consensus o Low distinctiveness o High consistency External attributions o High consensus o High distinctiveness o High consistency If consistency is low, external attribution is often made to the particular circumstances o Situational attribution Fundamental attribution error/ Correspondence bias: tendency to infer dispositional traits from observing behaviors, we tend to ignore the power of the situation and assume that people’s behaviors are a reflection of their personality or internal characteristics More common in Western European and American cultures than in Asian and African cultures We tend to see our own behavior more in light of the situation Perceptual salience: some things are obviously perceived some of the time, but might be overlooked at other times o When we make judgments about our own behavior we usually have access to information about the situation. When we make judgments about the behavior of other people we don’t necessarily have the ability to see the situation in the same way that the other person did Lesson 5 Self-concept: cognitive representation of the self William James Broke things down into two concepts o Me Self-concept: the objective expression of the self “I am _______” What we think about when we think about ourselves o I Subjective experience of being How a person experiences existence in the present He said that we go through life experiencing things with the I part of ourselves but as soon as we look back on something that has happened in the past, we are examining the Me part of the self Introspection: we can examine our actions and ourselves almost the same way that we would evaluate someone else Self awareness theory: when our own self concepts are made salient we often look at our behaviors and make judgments about those behaviors based on how they fit with our self concept o If we think about ourselves in terms of a certain positive trait and then we analyze behavior that contradicts our self concept, our self concept can be threatened by our own actions Trouble is that we often don’t know why we feel the way we do and having to put those into words can make us focus on the wrong parts of our choice o Researchers had college students rank what posters they found more appealing Some were copies of artwork by Monet and Vangogh and others were funny with a cat and a cute saying Most students preferred the art posters unless they had to analyze why they felt that way They found it easier to write why they did not like the art posters and why they did like the funny posters After they had to put it into words, they changed their minds as to which ones they liked the best They had students choose which poster to take home, those who had to analyze chose the funny poster more They called people a few weeks later and asked how much they liked their poster, those who did not analyze reasons liked their posters a lot better o If people are very knowledgeable about a topic, they are not as easily misled by analyzing reasons o The reasons that come to mind sometimes differ from our gut feelings, but people assume that feelings must be based on strong, logical ideas Self-perception theory: when we are in an ambiguous situation, we look at ourselves and our behaviors to assess attitude Two factor theory of emotion: when we first experience arousal and then we look for a reason for that arousal. The arousal coupled with the reason allows us to provide an emotion label Misattribution: because of the subjective interpretation of the situation, sometimes we get it wrong Lesson 6 Self esteem maintenance theory: Cognitive dissonance: performing an action that is discrepant from one’s self concept, leads to a feeling of discomfort o Ways to reduce dissonance Change your behaviors If the dissonance has resulted from an inconsistent behavior, it can be difficult to change immediately Change your cognitions If you can’t or wont’ change the behavior, you may be able to change your thoughts related to the concept Add new cognitions Add new information that explains the reasons for the behavior without having to take the blame for the outcome Self-affirmation theory: if one can’t directly restore self-esteem as it relates to the threatened self-concept, then they might be able to make themselves feel better by highlighting another aspect of their self that was not threatened o Three forms of dissonance Insufficient justification for negative behavior External justification: idea that the reason for doing something is outside of our control Your self concept will not be threatened and you will experience no dissonance Internal justification: we can change our attitudes or behaviors to come into line with the thing that we’ve done We are not just fooling ourselves, we have come to believe these new thoughts and can bring behavior and self-concept back into harmony o Process of cognitive dissonance and its influence on people’s perceptions and behaviors Post-decisional Dissonance/ choice justification: when people choose between two or more reasonably and roughly equivalent options, they often begin to question the intelligence of their decision The positive aspects of the options not chosen and the negative aspects of the chosen option come to the forefront of people’s minds Because the bad decision can be interpreted as a sign of weakness, incompetence, stupidity, the decision maker is experiencing a threat to self esteem and they are experiencing cognitive dissonance If order to reduce dissonance they will highlight the positive aspects of the option they chose and will downplay the negative aspects, the opposite happening for the options not chosen The decision maker gains a sense of confidence about their choice and a strong belief that their choice is a reflection of their positive self Justification of effort: when the relationship between achieving a goal and the reward of having the goal are out of balance They need to change their predictions of the goal in order to restore the balance of effort-to-outcome. By adopting the belief that the goal is much better than they might otherwise have believed, the person can justify the great effort it took to achieve that goal Insufficient punishment: A parent can convince a child that a bad behavior is no longer enjoyable The child must perceive that there is a potential punishment for the negative behavior. It must be severe enough to prevent the child from doing it but not so severe that the justification is going to be external o When the child is confident that they can get away with the behavior they will still find it enjoyable, and will go back to doing it The child will experience dissonance because they are not doing something they enjoy, and they will need to find some justification for not doing the behavior Ideally the child ends up thinking the behavior is not enjoyable o Are people aware? It is helpful if people do not know they are doing it, it often happens on an unconscious level Illusion of choice: because the experience of dissonance is reliant on internal justification, people need to perceive that their behaviors were up to them, otherwise there will be an external justification and thus no experience of dissonance Lesson 7 The affective component of an attitude: affect refers to emotion and the experience of having an attitude is often based on an emotional sense of the attitude object l Can take the form of an emotional appraisal l Can express values The Cognitive component of an attitude: resembles a list of facts about the attitude object l The object has certain properties (appearance, function, costs, benefits) and this list is a way people appraise its worth The Behavioral Component of an attitude: usually if we have a cognitive and affective attitude about an object we will also exhibit behaviors that are consistent with those attitudes l If the cognitive and affective components are conflicting, behavior will depend on what thoughts are more salient Persuasion and attitude change l Marketing people and campaign managers work to ensure that your affective, cognitive, and behavioral attitudes are favorable to convince people to buy what they are selling l Dual Process Model of Persuasion: certain times people pay attention to some aspects of a persuasive message, other times people pay attention to a very different aspect of the message l Elaboration Likelihood Model ELM: The more you think about something the more you can understand it, so when an individual elaborates on the information provided people will have a better understanding of the fact and a better memory for the details of the message. And certain factors influence the chance that someone will elaborate on the information l Central route to persuasion: when an individual pays attention to the content of a message and also invests some cognitive effort into elaborating on the information l The information will be examined in terms of the facts that were presented and the strength of the facts to prove a point l If an individual is persuaded by the facts of an argument through the central route it is very likely that they will internalize the message and believe it to be true at a later time l Peripheral route to persuasion: when an individual doesn’t pay attention to the content of the message but does notice the other aspects of the message, like the appearance of the speaker, length of communication, it is still possible for the listener to be persuaded l Results in weaker and short term attitude change l Since people have not invested much cognitive energy on analyzing the content, it is more likely that they can be persuaded by a counterargument l Motivation and Ability Motivation l The biggest determinant of which route, central or peripheral, is employed for a particular message is the person’s motivation and their ability to pay attention to the facts of a message l Reactance theory: When people reject a message even if it is plausible and otherwise convincing l When people feel their personal freedoms are threated they will often attempt to restore the sense of freedom by rebelling against the directive, even to the point of ignoring what might otherwise be perceived as a reasonable message l Media shaping attitudes l Pharmaceutical companies only have patent rights to their products for a limited time l People have been persuaded to believe that name brand products are better than generic products l Most people don’t believe that advertising has an effect on their behavior but it really has a strong influence l Subliminal: something that is not perceptible at a conscious level but is actually perceived at a subconscious level l In some very specific circumstances, very subtle hints can influence people’s perceptions l Can be words flashed briefly on a screen, priming a particular concept, pairing a neutral concept with either a negative or positive subliminal message l In order for these messages to be perceived, the person must have their attention focused exactly at the right location at exactly the right time, such as in an experiment l No evidence that subliminal messages in advertising really work Lesson 8 Social influence: the way that other people’s words, and actions can influence what we think, feel, and behave l Informational social influence: we conform because we see others as a source of information l Most likely to result in public compliance with private acceptance l Normative social influence: pressure to do what everyone else is doing in order to be perceived well l Often public compliance occurs without private acceptance l Public compliance: outward display of compliance l Private acceptance: internal attitude toward that display l Obedience: complying with a specific command by someone with power over the actor l The personality hypothesis of evil: There are really bad people in the world that are capable of doing things to hurt others without any guilt. It is possible hat such people are the cause of all bad behavior, but it is not likely l The social psychology hypothesis of evil: everyone has the capacity to act in evil ways if subjected to certain kinds of social influences Lesson 9 Group: three or more people who interact with each other, are interdependent, and are influenced by one another (two people are called a dyad) l Individuals share the same needs and goals as the other individuals in the group Presence of others l The knowledge that others are watching creates a physiological response (increased heartrate, sweating) that is a direct result of the psychological arousal you are experiencing l Michaels conducted a field experiment. They went to a pool hall and observed several men playing pool by themselves l Several people watched the pool players from across the room such that the pool players were unaware they were being observed and they recorded the percentage of shots that they made l The researcher had 4 confederates go and stand next to the player as they played pool, and again the percentage of shots was recorded l For the bad players, when they thought no one was watching they made about 36% of their shots, and when they were being watched they made 25% l Pool was a difficult task, and when they were made to believe they were being evaluated, they experienced heightened arousal, which further interfered with their ability l The good players made about 71% of shots when no one was watching and 80% when they were watching l The players also experienced arousal, but since pool was an easy task, the added arousal improved their performance l Social facilitation: in an easy task people to better when their performance is evaluated, if it is a difficult task, people do worse when their performance is evaluated l Social loafing: People who are relaxed while performing a task will tend to loose interest and therefore perform worse. People who are performing a difficult task will doo better if they are relaxed that they would if they were distracted by excess arousal l Deindividuation: as part of a crowd, people feel a sense of anonymity and reduced individuality, resulting in the loosening of normal constraints on behavior Group decisionmaking l Good group decisionmaking is dependent upon two things. l Members of the group must be willing to let people with expertise inform the nonexperts l People need to be allowed and encouraged to share unique information l If several nonexperts each know a little about the situation and they are allowed to share all the pieces of information then their collective knowledge could serve the same function as an expert l People tend to focus only on the information that everyone already knows, and people tend to not offer information that only they know, leading to uninformed decisions l Process loss: when information is not shared Lesson 10 Mere exposure leads to familiarity leads to liking We like things that are familiar The things most often encountered are most familiar The things that are most often encountered are usually things that demonstrate propinquity Propinquity: proximity, and the things that are closest to us (in either real or perceived distance) Mita, Dermer, and Knight asked a group of college students to come into their laboratory for a study and to bring along a person they were dating. Next, each participants had her picture taken o Researchers made two versions of the picture, one the actual picture, and the other an exact mirror image o The participants and dates were asked which picture they preferred o For the dates, they preferred the real image. The participants preferred the mirror image because that is what they most often see Continued exposure to people we don’t like leads to liking them less Similarity leads to liking Physical attractiveness leads to liking o Perceptions of beauty are almost universal o Beauty is seen as a sign of general social skills, popularity, and sexuality o Self-fulfilling prophecy: having people believe they are outgoing and friendly may cause them to act that way Liking leads to psychical attractiveness o Nisbett and Wilson examined the way in which people’s judgments of the attractiveness of a teacher were dependent upon the behavior of that teacher Half the participants watched a lecturer that acted in a warm and friendly manner. The other half watched the same person acting cold and untrusting If we are nice to one another, people will tend to believe we are more attractive than if we were cold or aloof Close relationships Passionate love: feelings of affection driven by physical arousal Companionate love: feelings of affection without any arousal Triangular theory of love by Sternberg o Intimacy: liking alone o Commitment: empty love, commitment alone o Passion: infatuation, passion alone o Companionate love: intimacy + commitment o Romantic love: intimacy + Passion o Fatuous love: Passion + commitment o Consummate love: intimacy + passion + commitment Evolution and love Evolutionary psychologists argue that the differences in the way men and women view love are due to differences in the way reproductive success is measured o Key to success for men is to father children with many different women; by doing that; the men stand a better chance of passing their genetic material. Success is measured by creating members of the next generation, failure would be to not have offspring Success can be achieved by 1 sexual encounter, after which they are free to leave and never interact with the mother or child Men seek partners that are capable of bearing children. One of the good signs of health is physical appearance o Women seek out men with a means to provide for them while they take care of the child Women look for a man who will stick around and help them with the child Lesson 11 Prosocial behavior: any act that has the goal of benefitting another person Altruism: prosocial act that is done without the expectation of ever receiving any benefit and will involve cost to the helper Social exchange theory: as long as the rewards for helping outweigh the costs, the person is likely to help Helping can create benefits for the helper in 3 ways o Helping another person increases the probability of reciprocated helping o Helping can relieve personal distress o Helping other people is a way to gain social approval and self-worth Empathy-Altruism hypothesis: if we feel empathy for someone we will help him or her, even if we get no reward. If we do not feel empathy, the Social Exchange theory will come into play Empathy: understanding another’s experience from their point of view Situational determinants of helping Notice the event Interpret the event as an emergency o If people see others acting in an emergency-like way, they are likely to perceive the situation as an emergency. If others are not reacting, they are likely to see it as a non- emergency o Pluralistic ignorance: each person is looking to the other people for help in interpreting the event. As people search each other for a reaction, a situation is created whereby no one reacts, and therefore everyone assumes that it is a non-emergency, and no help is given Assume responsibility o Diffusion of responsibility: everyone assumes that someone else is doing something, and it ends up that no one does anything Know appropriate forms of assistance o If the person does not know how to help, they can’t help Deciding to implement the help Lesson 12 2006 there were 300 million people in US and 1.4 million violent crimes reported, 470 violent crimes per 100,000 people Aggression: intentional behavior aimed at causing either physical or psychological pain Hostile aggression: an act aimed at causing pain o More likely to appear in the presence of anger, and particularly in a situation where the aggressor has experienced some threat to self-esteem, status, or respect, particularly in public o Culture has a history of promoting aggression as a means to increase status in group o Walking away from an insult is not in line with masculine behavior o More likely in situations of high stress, including that caused by environmental conditions (heat or cold, crowding, excessive noise, etc.) Instrumental aggression: an act that involves the use of physical or psychological pain as a means to gain some other goal o Occurs when aggressor perceives that there exists an opportunity for gaining some desired goal with high reward and low perceived risk o Calculations of risks and benefits are dependent upon the perceptions of the person in a particular situation o Long term poverty can create a situation where criminal activity is perceived to be the only viable means to achieve economic stability Chemical causes Serotonin: produced in midbrain that has been shown to inhibit impulsive aggression o People with insufficient serotonin likely have increased aggression Testosterone: individuals with elevated testosterone are more likely to engage in aggressive behaviors Hormones can cause changes in aggressive behavior but aggressive behavior can also cause changes in hormones Alcohol myopia: by Claude Steele and Robert Josephs, the effect of alcohol on aggressive behavior o Myopia: refers to shortsightedness o Alcohol impacts how people regulate their behaviors o Individuals act more impulsively o Aggressive impulses are less likely to be suppressed Gender Men tend to be much more aggressive in ordinary circumstances but the difference becomes smaller when people are provoked Direct aggression: behaviors that are intended to cause physical harm o Typical of males Indirect aggression: behaviors that are intended to cause psychological harm o Typical of females Social learning theory: we learn how to interact with others in our environment based on the rules and strategies of social interactions Frustration aggression theory: if something prevents us from attaining a goal we will tend to become frustrated. This frustration can lead to an increased probability of an aggressive response. The closer we are to the goal, the greater the frustration. The greater the frustration, the more likely we will become aggressive. If frustration is unexpected, then aggression is a more likely response Lesson 13 Stereotypes: cognitive component of an attitude about a group of people. A generalization about a group of people in which identical characteristics are assigned to virtually all members of the group, regardless of actual variation among the members Prejudice: emotional component, hostile or negative attitude toward a distinguishable group of people, based solely on their membership in that group Discrimination: the actual behaviors that are associated with the attitude toward a person, simply because of presumed group membership College professors “Smart, arrogant, bookish” are part of your cognitive component of your attitude If you were to hear about a professor you had never met, it is likely you would use those concepts to help you interpret the information about the person After you have assigned a person to a particular category, your beliefs about members of that category are likely to influence the way you interpret the information about this specific person The cognitive component of your attitude toward the group has an influence on your construal of the situation If you are thinking about the negative components of the category, then you would adopt a negative attitude toward this professor The combination of the cognitive components of the attitude and the emotional components are referred to as prejudice, even though prejudice is technically just the emotional component A general belief system about the category has influenced the way that information about that particular member of the group is being processed It’s possible that your prejudice will influence your behavior toward this person The real negative impact of discrimination is most likely to have an impact when a power differential exists between the people involved If a professor has a negative attitude about a student because of that student’s category membership, then the professor could have a greater potential for more harmful discrimination because they have more power than the student Social cognition approach The categorization of people and objects allows the perceiver to quickly identify relevant information without using up a lot of cognitive resources People tend to exaggerate the similarities of things in a category (particularly out-group members), and this can lead to attitudes that are different than they would be if the perceiver had made the effort to get to know the actual individual Automatic and controlled components of prejudice The process of categorizing people based on gender, ethnicity, and age is automatic An implicit attitude is automatic In controlled thinking, we can go beyond the implicit categorization of a person and actually think about our attitudes. In this way we can make corrections if need be, or filter out undesired or inappropriate information that has been brought to mind automatically o Takes effort and cognitive resources. If we don’t make this effort we are likely to be influenced only by the automatic information Persisting prejudice Someone with a strong and conscious prejudice may pretend to take a person’s application seriously so they don’t look prejudiced, but will never higher the person Someone with negative implicit attitudes may try to evaluate applicants fairly but subtle prejudice could make them less comfortable with some applicants Modern racism and modern sexism: a person shows no outward signs of racism but inwardly holds negative attitudes Reducing prejudice Social learning theory tells us that we learn how to behave and think from what we see The quality of information about a category can change o Irish Americans have a more positive connotation than they did years ago If the boundaries about what defines and in-group versus an out-group change, then the attitudes are likely to change as well Contact hypothesis: under the right circumstances, ethnic, gender, and other differences are minimized People who make the conscious decision to change their attitudes stand the best chance for reducing prejudice
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