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Controlling Other People: The Impact of Power on Stereotyping

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Abstract

This article presents a theory of the mutually reinforcing interaction between power and stereotyping, mediated by attention. The powerless attend to the powerful who control their outcomes, in an effort to enhance prediction and control, so forming complex, potentially nonstereotypic impressions. The powerful pay less attention, so are more vulnerable to stereotyping. The powerful (a) need not attend to the other to control their own outcomes, (b) cannot attend because they tend to be attentionally overloaded, and (c) if they have high need for dominance, may not want to attend. Stereotyping and power are mutually reinforcing because stereotyping itself exerts control, maintaining and justifying the status quo. Two legal cases and a body of research illustrate the theory and suggest organizational change strategies.
... Stereotyping, in which a set of characteristics is attributed to all members of an identity group, shapes many human social interactions [1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8]. Such generalizations can reflect or even exacerbate inter-group tensions, leading in the extreme to de-humanization of out-groups [9][10][11]. ...
... Whether people use stereotypes when deciding to cooperate, or whether they take the time to learn about others as individuals, depends on a trade-off between ease of decision-making on the one hand and greater benefits from deliberation on the other [1]. For stereotyping to be useful in this context, it must allow people to engage in successful cooperation, while helping them avoid losing out to free-riders and cheats [17]. ...
... Stereotyping is a common feature of human decision-making and is often seen as having negative social consequences [1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8][9][10][11]. However stereotyping can produce benefits by reducing the cognitive load of decision-making, aiding coordination or signalling trust [1,[14][15][16][17]. ...
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Stereotypes are generalized beliefs about groups of people, which are used to make decisions and judgments about them. Although such heuristics can be useful when decisions must be made quickly, or when information is lacking, they can also serve as the basis for prejudice and discrimination. In this paper we study the evolution of stereotypes through group reciprocity. We characterize the warmth of a stereotype as the willingness to cooperate with an individual based solely on the identity of the group they belong to. We show that when stereotypes are coarse, such group reciprocity is less likely to evolve, and stereotypes tend to be negative. We also show that, even when stereotypes are broadly positive, individuals are often overly pessimistic about the willingness of those they stereotype to cooperate. We then show that the tendency for stereotyping itself to evolve is driven by the costs of cognition, so that more people are stereotyped with greater coarseness as costs increase. Finally we show that extrinsic "shocks", in which the benefits of cooperation are suddenly reduced, can cause stereotype warmth and judgement bias to turn sharply negative, consistent with the view that economic and other crises are drivers of out-group animosity.
... Differences in control over valued resources between people lead to differences in the degree to which they depend on each other, as well as different degrees of attraction of others' motivation for affiliation. This asymmetric dependence was recognized by the power-as-control model (Fiske., 1993) and as a basic assumption introduced by the social distance theory of power (Magee & Smith, 2013). In terms of our research, people's motivation for affiliation may target superiors rather than inferiors, which can be achieved by building trust. ...
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Trust is conditional. Many studies have revealed its relative conditions in different situations, but when social status is characteristic of the person who receives trust (the “trustee”), our knowledge of how social status affects trust still remains limited. In this study, we used the trust game in order to: (1) characterize the effect of trustees’ social hierarchy on trust-related decisions in different trustworthiness situations and (2) explore the underlying computational process regarding the impact that social status has on trust-related decisions by using the computational modeling approach to integrate social status into trust-related situations. In Experiment 1, using a one-shot trust game with no feedback of information about reciprocity, we found that compared with inferiors, superiors gained more trust-related behaviors (investments) in spite of the fact that they were not rated as having higher trustworthiness. Then, in Experiment 2, when we controlled the trustworthiness of different social status partners by providing the same neutral reciprocity rate (50%) in a repeated trust game, the high-status partner gained more trust than the low-status partner. This superior bias extended to Experiment 3a and 3b, in which we set different levels of trustworthiness to match the different social statuses of partners. With respect to modeling results, we found that higher status holds an additional social value independent of trust profit, resulting in superior bias. Ultimately, this study has shed light on the superior bias that commonly leads people to grant high-status individuals goodwill in social interactions.
... Indeed, it appears that participants with a low subjective status are in fact better at simulating what it's like to be in others' shoes than their high-ranking counterparts (Kraus et al., 2010). 10 In contrast, participants asked to assume high-ranking roles are indeed better at using TT to represent others' faulty representations of the world and worse at using ST than their low-ranking counterparts (Blader et al., 2016;Fiske, 1993;Lammers et al., 2008;Schmid-Mast et al., 2009). ...
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Theorists of oppression commonly accept that unfair social power disparities result in a variety of harms. In particular, oppression is characterized by a loss of open-mindedness in the oppressors, and negative internalization in the oppressed. That is, while oppressors are often unable or unwilling to consider the points of view of the oppressed, the oppressed often come to internalize conditions of oppression by experiencing them as indicative of their own alleged shortcomings. Nevertheless, the psychological mechanisms behind these phenomena have remained underexplored. This is unfortunate, since understanding the psychological processes behind these phenomena could help us understand how they could be reversed. In this work, I aim to fill this lacuna by extending debates on mechanisms of mindreading (simulation-based or theorizing-based mechanisms responsible for interpreting and manipulating one’s and others’ mental states via attribution of propositional attitudes) to show how close-mindedness and negative internalization come about. I synthesize empirical findings to show that while theorizing fosters emotional insulation by “reframing” affective cues from a third-person point of view, simulation fosters feelings of emotional vulnerability and psychological continuity. As a result, while theorizing allows oppressors to take a somewhat detached attitude during self and other interpretation, involuntary simulation fosters negative internalization on the part of the oppressed.
... Language is notoriously powerful to project, spread and reinforce toxic opinions (Fiske, 1993). Since it is impossible to manually filter the massive online textual world, automatic toxicity detection is of utmost importance. ...
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Due to the subtleness, implicity, and different possible interpretations perceived by different people, detecting undesirable content from text is a nuanced difficulty. It is a long-known risk that language models (LMs), once trained on corpus containing undesirable content, have the power to manifest biases and toxicity. However, recent studies imply that, as a remedy, LMs are also capable of identifying toxic content without additional fine-tuning. Prompt-methods have been shown to effectively harvest this surprising self-diagnosing capability. However, existing prompt-based methods usually specify an instruction to a language model in a discriminative way. In this work, we explore the generative variant of zero-shot prompt-based toxicity detection with comprehensive trials on prompt engineering. We evaluate on three datasets with toxicity labels annotated on social media posts. Our analysis highlights the strengths of our generative classification approach both quantitatively and qualitatively. Interesting aspects of self-diagnosis and its ethical implications are discussed.
... Moreover, training should stress fairness norms in hiring because a concern for fairness can motivate individuals to devote more time to reaching a bias-free decision (Fiske, 1993). ...
... The internal experience of feeling intellectually phony, and underserving of recognition and current status (Clance, 1985) Intersectional invisibility Social invisibility stemming from a lack of other-perceived prototypicality in a single identity due to multiple, intersecting identities ( Preferring that people of color behave in a stereotype-consistent manner (Gutiérrez & Unzueta, 2010) categorization (e.g., (Hogg, 2004;Tajfel et al., 1971;Turner, 2010)), stereotyping (e.g., (Fiske, 1993;Fiske, 1998)), and other micro-level frameworks that consider the production and reproduction of racism to be a primarily individual or interpersonal phenomenon. This focus has enabled many important insights. ...
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In the wake of recent, highly publicized examples of anti-Black racism, scholars and practitioners are seeking ways to use their skills, resources, and platforms to better understand and address this phenomenon. Naming, examining, and countering anti-Black racism are critical steps toward fostering antiracist science and practice. To support those efforts, this paper details key insights from past research on anti-Black racism in organizations, draws from critical race perspectives to highlight specific topics that warrant consideration in future research, and offers considerations for how scholars should approach anti-Black racism research. Future research ideas include: specific manifestations of anti-Black racism within organizations, the double-bind of authenticity for Black employees, intersectionality among Black employees, and means of redressing anti-Black racism in organizations. Suggested research considerations include: understanding the history of anti-Black racism within research and integrating anti-Black racism research insights across organizational science. Research insights, ideas, and considerations are outlined to provide context for past and current experiences and guidance for future scholarship concerning anti-Black racism in organizations.
Article
The other‐race effect (ORE) is a recognition memory advantage afforded to one's racial ingroup versus outgroup. The motivational relevance of the ingroup—because of relationships, belonging and self‐esteem—is central to many theoretical explanations for the ORE. However, to date, the motivational relevance of outgroups has received considerably less attention in the ORE literature. Across six experiments, Black, White, Asian and Latinx American participants consistently demonstrated better recognition memory for the faces of relatively higher‐status racial/ethnic group members than those of lower‐status groups. This higher‐status recognition advantage even appeared to override the ORE, such that participants better recognized members of higher‐status outgroups—but not an outgroup of equivalent status—compared to members of their own ingroup. However, across a variety of self‐reported perceived status measures, status differences between the high‐ and low‐status groups generally did not moderate the documented recognition advantage. These findings provide initial evidence for the potential role of group status in the ORE and in recognition memory more broadly, but future work is needed to rule out alternative explanations.
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Presented paper captures the issue of close relationships from the perspective of behaviorism, that is the philosophy of science on which behavior analysis is based. Therefore, it is a theoretical interpretation of the functioning and evolution of intimate relationships rather than a direct extrapolation of results from scientific research. The issues discussed relate to basic learning laws that govern human behavior and what results from them for close romantic relationships. The author makes a critical reinterpretation of the main theories explaining the genesis and functioning of romantic relationships, indicating that the core of dynamically occurring changes in the relationship, partner selection, as well as feelings and emotions occurring in close relationships are simple learning mechanisms that occur over time cumulatively.
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Does greater CEO power come with more responsibility? Previous scholarly work in this field entails divergent results on this question. Based on the upper echelons theory and CEO power literature, this study aimed to explore the mechanisms underlying how different sources of CEO power, including structural, ownership, expert, and prestige power, affect firms’ corporate social responsibility (CSR) practices and whether such relationships are moderated by firm visibility. Using a panel dataset comprising 6604 yearly observations of Chinese publicly traded firms from 2009 to 2019, we found that structural power is negatively related to CSR practices and that expert power is positively related to CSR practices, whereas ownership power and prestige power have no direct relationship with CSR practices. Our results show that firm visibility weakens the negative relationship between structural power and CSR practices and strengthens the relationship between expert power and CSR practices, respectively. Overall, this study reconciles the mixed results of previous studies on the impact of CEO power on CSR and integrates the effect of firm visibility as a contextual factor. This article concludes with practical recommendations on how to manage CSR engagement.
Book
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Social power has always been surrounded by mystery; it is attributed to unknown causes which make a given person very special. Thus, social power is conceived as the outcome of an intrinsic personal advantage. Is this true? The answer to this question is explored in this book; and it is extremely relevant because it teaches us not only what its true source is, but also what social power consists of, and how we should manage it. Social power is present in any relationship between two individuals or groups, whether they are animals or humans. Social power is an evolutionary feature that is required both to establish social order, and to promote social change. In this book we argue that the main source of social power is relational. The social power of an individual or group is mostly due to his social position within the integrative system. Which does not mean, however, that individual characteristics do not exist, nor that they are irrelevant as a source of social power. But whether we discuss political, organizational or any other kind of power – the main source of power is relational. And this entails important lessons about how to obtain and use social power. Whatever social position one holds, it is always important to remind oneself that the main source of our power is relational; and that coercive and economic power should only be used as complementary to the integrative system.
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