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People With Low Self-Esteem Show More Signs of Prejudice

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posted on Feb, 23 2011 @ 10:25 PM
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Pretty interesting article I ran across earlier. I figured I would share it with others.


ScienceDaily (Feb. 23, 2011) — When people are feeling badly about themselves, they're more likely to show bias against people who are different. A new study published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, examines how that works.

"This is one of the oldest accounts of why people stereotype and have prejudice: It makes us feel better about ourselves," says Jeffrey Sherman of the University of California, Davis, who wrote the study with Thomas Allen. "When we feel bad about ourselves, we can denigrate other people, and that makes us feel better about ourselves."


A sad fact of some people I suppose. I grew up with a bully parent, and can attest to the low self-esteem theory in that case. Misery does indeed love company.


Sherman and Allen used the Implicit Association Test (IAT) -- a task designed to assess people's automatic reactions to words and/or images -- to investigate this claim. In order to reveal people's implicit prejudice, participants are asked to watch a computer monitor while a series of positive words, negative words, and pictures of black or white faces appear. In the first part of the test, participants are asked to push the "E" key for either black faces or negative words and the "I" key for white faces or positive words. For the second task, the groupings are reversed -- participants are now supposed to associate positive words with black faces and negative words with white faces.

Determining prejudice in the IAT is pretty straightforward: If participants have negative associations with black people, they should find the second task more difficult. This should be especially true when people feel bad about themselves.

But what psychologists don't agree on is how this works. "People were using the exact same data to make completely different arguments about why," Sherman says. There are two possibilities: either feeling bad about yourself activates negative evaluations of others, or it makes you less likely to suppress those biases.


Interesting study for sure. I often wonder how they come up with these tests they perform. They carried this one another step further...


In their experiment, Sherman and Allen asked participants to take a very difficult 12-question test that requires creative thinking. No one got more than two items correct. About half of the participants were given their test results and told that the average score was nine, to make them feel bad about themselves. The other half were told that their tests would be graded later. All of the participants then completed the IAT and, as expected, those who were feeling bad about their test performance showed more evidence of implicit prejudice.

But Sherman and Allen took it a step farther. They also applied a mathematical model that reveals the processes that contribute to this effect. By plugging in the data from the experiment, they were able to determine that people who feel bad about themselves show enhanced prejudice because negative associations are activated to a greater degree, but not because they are less likely to suppress those feelings.


Most of us always figured this to be the case, now there is some scientific data to back it up.

Do you agree or disagree with this? There are definitely too many prejudices alive and well today. It would be nice to see a decrease regardless of it's cause.

You can read more here:
www.sciencedaily.com...



edit on 2/23/2011 by Kangaruex4Ewe because: (no reason given)




posted on Feb, 23 2011 @ 10:38 PM
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I can't wait for the usual "debunkers" to show up trying to refute this study. Everyone knows that bullies are lacking in self-esteem. This research is along those same lines. Good find, and thanks!



posted on Feb, 23 2011 @ 10:41 PM
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reply to post by Kangaruex4Ewe
 


Predictable. People who have low self-esteem feel the need to put down anyone else they feel are superior to themselves so as to build up their own esteem. Confident people don't need to knock down someone else; they know they are that good.



posted on Feb, 23 2011 @ 11:00 PM
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reply to post by QueSeraSera
 


I would definitely not be shocked to see someone do that.


That or claim they are only showing everyone the right way to think or do things. In all my experiences the study seems to hold water, I am interested to see if more think the same way or not.



posted on Feb, 26 2011 @ 11:47 PM
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Really ?

That must mean I'm pretty confident about myself...

Awesome !

A prejudice doesn't have to mean something negative , does it ?

Example: Afro-American males are good at basketball . A prejudice right ? Not really negative is it.

Please correct me where I'm wrong as English isn't my first language. Maybe my understanding of prejudice is wrong...



posted on Feb, 27 2011 @ 12:04 AM
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reply to post by QueSeraSera
 


Well there is mixed research on BULLYING and self esteem. Some say bullies actually have pretty high self esteem, but they are jockeying for the number one position, and picking on others is how they show off.

But I dont want to debate that, or derail the thread. I think more on topic that "Prejudice" is clearly an issue of self esteem or insecurity. I think thats one reason racism is so often used to divide the lower classes and keep them bickering among one another.

When you are insecure, emotionally, financially, or food insecurity, however.....you are much more likely to revert to an "us against them" tribal mentality, and circle the wagons with those you perceive to be on your side. Its something that probably served us well in the days when we lived in tribes of people who looked, talked and acted just like us. Today, not such a great thing.



posted on Feb, 27 2011 @ 03:32 AM
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reply to post by Kangaruex4Ewe
 


yeah thats true ...

living with my younger brother and how he views the world like everybody in it is beneith him and owes him . how he treats me and what he says to me .

i can garentee that hes got low self esteem tho he ll never admit to it . not only is he predjudice against his own family he thinks anybody whos not made their first milllions by the time their 30s are all losers ... he lives in the hollywood world...
just to add a fine example ...

thats not his only issue hes got tons ...

which is why im doing one of two things kicking him out or ill leave my self.
i got huge plans for my self for the next 2 to 3 months and im sure he ll try to stop me if he knew what they are ..



posted on Feb, 27 2011 @ 03:46 AM
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And they say "The meek shall inherit the Earth."
Surely they are only meek because they have low self-esteem. And if they have low self-esteem they are apparently prejudiced.... But prejudiced against what/who exactly? Against everyone and everything I suppose


This report doesn`t tell us exactly they are supposed to be prejudiced against. Is it OK to hate someone so long as you hate everybody? I mean, you can`t go around saying "I love everybody" or you`ll get locked-up so......



posted on Feb, 27 2011 @ 06:57 AM
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Originally posted by Illusionsaregrander
reply to post by QueSeraSera
 


Well there is mixed research on BULLYING and self esteem. Some say bullies actually have pretty high self esteem, but they are jockeying for the number one position, and picking on others is how they show off.

But I dont want to debate that, or derail the thread. I think more on topic that "Prejudice" is clearly an issue of self esteem or insecurity. I think thats one reason racism is so often used to divide the lower classes and keep them bickering among one another.

When you are insecure, emotionally, financially, or food insecurity, however.....you are much more likely to revert to an "us against them" tribal mentality, and circle the wagons with those you perceive to be on your side. Its something that probably served us well in the days when we lived in tribes of people who looked, talked and acted just like us. Today, not such a great thing.
Good points.

I have to wonder if being told (wrongly) that you answered a few questions on a test wrong is the same thing as being bullied for 10 years. This study says it's the same thing. I have to wonder. I'm implicitly saying that I am skeptical. I was bullied for a long time. How is this comparable. I don't want to go into specifics because that's beyond my abilities, but I hold onto skepticism.

There're some people who love to poke fun at others when their confidence falters. They do it because it helps them to feel better about themselves. I mean, if you know you're not the only one that's not doing well, it helps to bolster your sense of well being. If you suck, at least you're not the only one! You may be wrong, and that can be called a prejudice, but that doesn't change the fact that it bolsters your sense that you're not the only one having a hard time.

More than that though the bulllies I knew mostly did it for fun. They were too dumb to care about whether it was for self esteem or not - IF that's why they bullied. They grew out of it eventually. It's hard to blame them for being dumb. I have to wonder if there's a simpler explanation than this study.

What bugs me is why does this always have to be about someone else? I didn't live my life hating other people when I grew up. I didn't live my life lying or stealing or beating up people or spreading racism or hate bigotry. It was never about other people. The person I hated most was myself. I lived my life hating me, not others. If this leads to prejudice, then it's incorrect to say that the prejudice is about others. Because if I somehow fostered prejudice in my life then it was a prejudice against myself and, in general, this world. I hate myself and don't trust this world.
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posted on Feb, 27 2011 @ 07:09 AM
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Can't say I'm too surprised. When sinking you'll do what it takes to stay afloat.

So people with high self-esteem would be more accepting, seems about right.


edit on 27-2-2011 by ghaleon12 because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 27 2011 @ 07:23 AM
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Also.. if just some questions on a random test that're answered wrongly can cause people to lose self esteem and be prejudiced, then doesn't this suggest that on a mass scale simple failures like this cause people to lose self esteem and foster prejudice? Think about it, I bet there're many instances where people get negative results that lower their self esteem or people give them information that they misidentify as negative. If only one failed 12-question test (this isn't the moon landing) can cause this effect, then it's common place!

I think that sums it up best. Since most of us have failed something, we've all been prejudiced.

What this study is saying is that we're all prejudiced. How can we not fail at some point in life?
edit on 27-2-2011 by jonnywhite because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 1 2011 @ 12:31 PM
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reply to post by jonnywhite
 


Well, actually the study doesnt relate their results to bullying. At all.

The OP and a couple other people have associated the results with bullying, but prejudice and bullying are different animals altogether.



posted on Mar, 7 2011 @ 12:18 AM
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If this study has proven anything, then we will soon witness a rise in hate crimes in the US as the economy continues to fall. Especially because the system and the majority of its citizens measures personal worth and success in terms of materialism and consumerism. Bruised egos and low self-esteem is already a plenty.


edit on 7-3-2011 by MaryStillToe because: (no reason given)



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