Skip to main content

Prejudice, Stereotypes, and Intergroup Hostility: A Structured Overview

Prejudice, Stereotypes, and Intergroup Hostility: A Structured Overview


Prejudice, stereotypes, and intergroup hostility are interrelated concepts that can have a significant impact on social relationships and attitudes between different groups of people. This article will provide a structured overview of these concepts and examine how they are related.


Prejudice refers to an unjustified negative attitude toward an individual or group based on their membership in a particular social category, such as race, ethnicity, or religion. Prejudice can take many forms, including racism, sexism, homophobia, and xenophobia. It is important to note that prejudice is not the same as discrimination, which refers to the unequal treatment of individuals or groups based on prejudice.


Stereotypes are oversimplified generalizations about individuals or groups that are made without considering each individual's unique qualities and characteristics. Stereotypes are often based on prejudice and can result in individuals being treated unfairly and unequally.

Intergroup Hostility

Intergroup hostility refers to negative attitudes and behaviours directed toward individuals or groups based on their membership in a different social category. Intergroup hostility can take many forms, including prejudice, discrimination, and violence. It is important to note that intergroup hostility is not limited to conflicts between individuals or groups from different races, ethnicities, or religions; it can also occur between individuals or groups based on other social categories, such as gender, nationality, or socioeconomic status.

Theories of Prejudice and Intergroup Hostility

Several theories have been proposed to explain the origins and perpetuation of prejudice and intergroup hostility. One of the most well-known theories is Social Identity Theory, which suggests that individuals derive a sense of self from their membership in social categories or "ingroups." Social identity theory proposes that individuals are motivated to enhance the positive image of their ingroups, leading them to act in ways that benefit their ingroups, while negatively evaluating "outgroups" that do not belong to their ingroup. This can result in intergroup conflict, prejudice, and discrimination.

The Contact Hypothesis, proposed by psychologist Gordon Allport in the 1950s, suggests that close and personal contact between individuals from different groups can lead to improved intergroup attitudes and reduced prejudice. According to this theory, close and positive contact between individuals from different groups can help to reduce stereotypes and increase understanding. Research has shown that the Contact Hypothesis is most effective when contact is positive, occurs in a supportive context, and involves equal status between the individuals involved.


Prejudice, stereotypes, and intergroup hostility are complex and multifaceted concepts that can significantly impact social relationships and attitudes between different groups of people. Social Identity Theory and the Contact Hypothesis provide two important perspectives on intergroup behavior and offer potential solutions for reducing prejudice and promoting intergroup harmony.


  1. Tajfel, H., & Turner, J. C. (1986). The social identity theory of intergroup behavior. In S. Worchel & W. Austin (Eds.), Psychology of intergroup relations (pp. 7-24). Chicago: Nelson-Hall.
  2. Sherif, M. (1954). The Psychology of Social Norms. New York: Harper & Row.
  3. Allport, G. W. (1954). The nature of prejudice. Cambridge, MA: Addison-Wesley.


Popular posts from this blog

ADVOKATE: A Mnemonic Tool for the Assessment of Eyewitness Evidence

ADVOKATE: A Mnemonic Tool for Assessment of Eyewitness Evidence A tool for assessing eyewitness  ADVOKATE is a tool designed to assess eyewitness evidence and how much it is reliable. It requires the user to respond to several statements/questions. Forensic psychologists, police or investigative officer can do it. The mnemonic ADVOKATE stands for: A = amount of time under observation (event and act) D = distance from suspect V = visibility (night-day, lighting) O = obstruction to the view of the witness K = known or seen before when and where (suspect) A = any special reason for remembering the subject T = time-lapse (how long has it been since witness saw suspect) E = error or material discrepancy between the description given first or any subsequent accounts by a witness.  Working with suspects (

ICD-11 Criteria for Anorexia Nervosa (6B80)

ICD-11 Criteria for Anorexia Nervosa (6B80) Anorexia Nervosa is characterised by significantly low body weight for the individual’s height, age and developmental stage that is not due to another health condition or to the unavailability of food. A commonly used threshold is body mass index (BMI) less than 18.5 kg/m2 in adults and BMI-for-age under 5th percentile in children and adolescents. Rapid weight loss (e.g. more than 20% of total body weight within 6 months) may replace the low body weight guideline as long as other diagnostic requirements are met. Children and adolescents may exhibit failure to gain weight as expected based on the individual developmental trajectory rather than weight loss. Low body weight is accompanied by a persistent pattern of behaviours to prevent restoration of normal weight, which may include behaviours aimed at reducing energy intake (restricted eating), purging behaviours (e.g. self-induced vomiting, misuse of laxatives), and behaviours aimed at incr

ICD-11 Criteria for Schizophrenia (6A20 )

ICD-11 Criteria for Schizophrenia (6A20 ) Schizophrenia is characterised by disturbances in multiple mental modalities, including thinking (e.g., delusions, disorganisation in the form of thought), perception (e.g., hallucinations), self-experience (e.g., the experience that one's feelings, impulses, thoughts, or behaviour are under the control of an external force), cognition (e.g., impaired attention, verbal memory, and social cognition), volition (e.g., loss of motivation), affect (e.g., blunted emotional expression), and behaviour (e.g., behaviour that appears bizarre or purposeless, unpredictable or inappropriate emotional responses that interfere with the organisation of behaviour). Psychomotor disturbances, including catatonia, may be present. Persistent delusions, persistent hallucinations, thought disorder, and experiences of influence, passivity, or control are considered core symptoms. Symptoms must have persisted for at least one month in order for a diagnosis of schi