eople are influenced by peers and similar or highly-regarded others in their environment wishing to conform to their expectations and attempting to fit in to their surrounding social milieu. Taking the theory of social influences to its logical conclusion, social influences also argues that we are indoctrinated through enculturation to perceive aspects in certain manner (Nisbett & Ross, 1980). Heuristics or schemas are created through which we automatically categorize facets of our environment such as objects, personality traits, self, social roles, and social groups in a subjective manner, consequently driving our response. This is known as a cognitive model of perception.
Priming, on the other hand, (although not necessarily contradictory, merely different; the two could actually be synthesized) argues that different stimuli instigate memory/ mental node thus evoking a behavioral or judgmental repose. The theory has been characterized as a network of interconnected nodes that when a particular target (for instance word or human) is perceived, the node or group of nodes representing that concept are activated, and flooding spreads to closely associated nodes (Maxfield, 1997). The perceiver’s response is quickly and involuntarily activated and little if anything can be done to impede response.
The general framework is cognitive, namely the belief that enculturation has seeded particular heuristics that instigate negative stereotyping. In fact, however, affect has been shown to have as strong if not stronger effect on attitude (Esses, Haddock, & Zanna, 1993). Can these results carry over to prejudice? Which is stronger in determining negative stereotyping: priming or social influence? This is what this study intends to investigate.
Deliverable 2: Write a critical analysis of the structure of one of the two theories you selected above, decomposing the theory into its component parts; focus on the strengths and weaknesses of the theory in terms of its promise