Becoming Conscious of the American Middle Class (Un)consciousness
ABSTRACT It is argued in this article that social psychology would make the greatest contribution to research on class identity if it concentrated on the area closest to psychology-analysis of class consciousness. In order to show that the study of the psyche and mentality of the middle class is one of the least researched aspects of the American middle class, a brief overview of the different approaches to the study of the middle class in selected disciplines will be offered. It will be demonstrated that even if the identity of the U.S. middle class cannot be fully understood without its history and the social context in which it operates, it is the study of its (un)consciousness that social psychology should be focusing its research efforts on. The alternative would make social psychology indistinguishable from social history or sociology.
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ABSTRACT: Traditionally, prejudice has been conceptualized as simple animosity. The stereotype content model (SCM) shows that some prejudice is worse. The SCM previously demonstrated separate stereotype dimensions of warmth (low-high) and competence (low-high), identifying four distinct out-group clusters. The SCM predicts that only extreme out-groups, groups that are both stereotypically hostile and stereotypically incompetent (low warmth, low competence), such as addicts and the homeless, will be dehumanized. Prior studies show that the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) is necessary for social cognition. Functional magnetic resonance imaging provided data for examining brain activations in 10 participants viewing 48 photographs of social groups and 12 participants viewing objects; each picture dependably represented one SCM quadrant. Analyses revealed mPFC activation to all social groups except extreme (low-low) out-groups, who especially activated insula and amygdala, a pattern consistent with disgust, the emotion predicted by the SCM. No objects, though rated with the same emotions, activated the mPFC. This neural evidence supports the prediction that extreme out-groups may be perceived as less than human, or dehumanized.Psychological Science 11/2006; 17(10):847-53. DOI:10.1111/j.1467-9280.2006.01793.x · 4.43 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Decades of racial progress have led some researchers and policymakers to doubt that discrimination remains an important cause of economic inequality. To study contemporary discrimination, we conducted a field experiment in the low-wage labor market of New York City, recruiting white, black, and Latino job applicants who were matched on demographic characteristics and interpersonal skills. These applicants were given equivalent résumés and sent to apply in tandem for hundreds of entry-level jobs. Our results show that black applicants were half as likely as equally qualified whites to receive a callback or job offer. In fact, black and Latino applicants with clean backgrounds fared no better than white applicants just released from prison. Additional qualitative evidence from our applicants' experiences further illustrates the multiple points at which employment trajectories can be deflected by various forms of racial bias. These results point to the subtle yet systematic forms of discrimination that continue to shape employment opportunities for low-wage workers.American Sociological Review 10/2009; 74(5):777-799. DOI:10.1177/000312240907400505 · 4.42 Impact Factor