Saturday, August 25, 2007

Funny little cartoon, made me smile.

Friday, August 24, 2007

McClellands Theory of Needs

Thanks James for giving me the tip off.

David McClelland's theory of needs seemed to link very nicely to my previous blog "Some thoughts on prejudice." Although he did use his theory more in the context of the work place, I was very interested in seeing where some links could be made to the origins of prejudice.

According to McClelland, humans have 3 types of motivational needs.

  • Achievement- need for progress and accomplishment

  • Authority- directing and organising other

  • Affiliation- feeling accepted, being a part of something

McCelland suggests a persons motivations are effected by these three needs. Some people may have a higher need for achievement, where others my have a higher need for affiliation and others for authority. These 3 motivational needs are not bad motivations to have, as they all call be used beneficially. However, I can see some links to how these innate motivation drives can influence discrimination. I'd thought I use this as a chance to work out how to do a concept map. I hope you can follow.

I hope you can read it. As I was creating the map, I could see areas that interlink with other areas such as winners & losers and group memebership. I wasnt sure how to get the lines to join accross the map. Anyway this was my first attempt.

If you want to read more about McClelland's theory of needs here are some links

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Guilty of Ignorance-

Did anyone else feel challenged after watching the Australian Eye?

I do not want to treat this blog as a confession booth; however I do want to incorporate some of the explanations of prejudice covered by Baumeister & Bushman (2008) with my own reflections. I feel that ignorance (Baumeister & Bushman ,2008) is such a huge barrier for overcoming prejudice. Ignorance can be an extension of the stereotype heuristic, which is an attempt to simplify ways of thinking about people. (Baumeister & Bushman, 2008). Furthermore, how things make us feel (our self esteem) affects our perspective on situations and experiences. These three explanations for prejudice (self esteem, stereotyping and ignorance) in combination can separate reality from what is easiest for us to comprehend/deal with everyday/makes us feel better.

For example, the film Amazing Graze, which is also discussed on Zoe's blog (, surrounds the issue of slavery, an overt form of discrimination. After watching Amazing Grace I came out of the movie feeling impressed about what has been done about slavery. However, the reality is that slavery still happens all over the world today ( Just because we can't see it doesn't mean it does not exist (I'm not in anyway minimising any efforts of people such as William Wilberforce). It's just easier to focus on the positive, right?

For me, it comes down to ignorance. Ignorance has many forms. After watching The Australian Eye, however, it was ignorance in understanding the effects of prejudice on the victim. In my head and moral fibres I know discrimination is wrong. Even though I'm part Australian and part Tongan I have never felt like I have been obviously discriminated against. Therefore, I have not felt or internalised what it is like to be the victim.

The film highlighted a number of behaviours, feelings and thoughts that come as a result of prejudice. They include
- Loss of self identity
- Denial
- Alienation
- Resistance
- Resentment
- Frustration
- Unco-operation
- Hatred/ anger
- Isolation
Just to name a few.
Looking at these reactions it’s become obvious that that prejudice is good recipe for breeding prejudice. It was mentioned a few times in the film (The Australian Eye) that these reactions were suppressed by the indigenous community as a mechanism of survival. It seems hardly worth surviving.
This blog is more of a reflection of some of the material that I have seen over the past few weeks. I'm not really sure how to talk about these things from a social psychological perspective. I feel like I'm going on my own little tangent most of the time. So if anyone has any tips I'd be happy to hear them! While I get down off my soap box :o)

Take care all

Note- I would like to say that these are my opinions and ideas. I do not want to fall into the trap of stereotyping everyone into the same category as me and having the same opinions as me.

References Baumeister, R. F. & Bushman, B. J. (2008). Social Psychology and Human Nature (1st ed.) Belmont, CA: Thomas Wadsworth.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Some thoughts on Prejudice

Well I said I’d be back to do a bit more expanding. So here I am. The more I think about prejudice and stereotyping the more in depth and interesting it gets. I found a few sources with found a variety of definitions of prejudice.

  • “A negative feeling towards an individual based solely on his or her membership in a particular group.” (Baumeister & Bushman, 2007).
  • “An adverse judgment or opinion formed beforehand or without knowledge or examination of the facts.” (The American Heritage Dictionary)
  • “An irrational attitude of hostility directed against an individual, a group, a race, or their supposed characteristics.” (Merriam-Websters Dictionary of Law)
  • “An unfavourable opinion or feeling formed beforehand or without knowledge, thought, or reason.” ( Unabridged)

Today’s lecture gave us an opportunity to explore ways to overcome different prejudices. I am wondering if it is possible to eliminate prejudice on a global level. The more I thought about it the more I think it is highly unlikely. This led me to think about whether prejudice is innate. After tossing around a few thoughts I came up with a couple of theories. These are just my own ideas, so I would be glad to hear your thoughts on this.

Although I don’t think we have an innate desire to be prejudice I think we have a range innate desires that contribute to reasoning forming the affect, behaviours and cognitive components of prejudice. Based different definitions I’ve come up with a few innate and environmental factors that attempt to explore the origins of prejudice.

These innate desires might include

  • Feeling part of a group (this group could be self defined or defined by society)
  • Feeling of having power (may link to self esteem)
  • Competitiveness (wanting to be ‘better’ or the ‘winner’)
  • Personal characteristics and traits (the way we interrupt our experiences, tolerance)

These innate desires mix with environmental factors such as

  • Mainstream fashion, trends, culture, way of doing things
  • Upbringing
  • Influence of others/ media
  • Experience
  • Education/ exposure or lack of

These lists are far from definitive however it’s a start. The combination of innate and environmental factors can be the ultimate recipe for creating the ABC’s of prejudice. This is just a bit of an introduction to me getting my head around a small area of the topic. Hopefully as I continue researching and reading my understanding will continue to grow.
Any comments, questions, additions or ideas would be gladly received. Hope everyone is coping well during this busy time.


Baumeister, R. F. & Bushman, B. J. (2008). Social Psychology and Human Nature (1st ed.) Belmont, CA: Thomas Wadsworth.

prejudice. (n.d.). The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Retrieved August 22, 2007, from website:

prejudice. (n.d.). Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Law. Retrieved August 22, 2007, from website:

prejudice. (n.d.). Unabridged (v 1.1). Retrieved August 22, 2007, from website:

Is anyone innocent?

While I was listening to today's lecture I remembered seeing a short film from the Tropfest Short Film Festival (2006) that was directed by Greg Williams. The film was called the Last Stop. After searching around I managed to dig up the film. I have pasted the link below and I strongly recommend watching it, as it highlights a common form of stereotyping and prejudice in today's society.

I would love to hear any of your thoughts about the clip.
*** QUESTION- would the people on the tram react differently to the bag had it been a white anglosaxon man, or even a female who left it there???***
I think this is all I will write for now, as I have another class to go to. I will extend on this later. I just really wanted to get this clip up and generate some discussion. (sorry I wasn’t sure how to get the URL from the ninemsn site to actually post the clip on my page)
Hope you enjoy.