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Social Influence – Prejudice

2. Explanations for Prejudice

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About this Lecture


In this lecture, we explore some social psychological explanations for stereotyping and prejudice, focusing in particular on: (i) Adorno’s theory of the ‘authoritarian personality’; (ii) some of its limitations; (iii) realistic conflict theory as an alternative explanation for prejudice, which takes into account the social context in which people interact.


In this course, Dr Juliet Wakefield (Nottingham Trent University) discusses prejudice, stereotyping and discrimination. In the first lecture, we look at a definition of these three concepts. In the second lecture, we explore some social psychological explanations for prejudice, focusing in particular on the ‘authoritarian personality’ and realistic conflict theory. In the third lecture, we think about a classic study exploring the latter – Sherif’s Robbers Cave study. Next, we focus on social identity theory as a way of explaining how ingroup-outgroup dynamics can serve to fuel prejudice. In the fifth lecture, we think about a specific target of prejudice by considering sexism or gender discrimination. In the sixth and final lecture, we look at the potential effects of stereotyping, prejudice and discrimination on those targeted and their wider communities.


Dr Juliet Wakefield is a senior lecturer in the Department of Psychology at Nottingham Trent University. Dr Wakefield is a member of the Groups, Identities, and Health research group and has research interests in the social identity approach and implications of group membership. Some of Dr Wakefield’s recent publications include ‘Communities as conduits of harm: a social identity analysis of appraisal, coping and justice-seeking in response to historic collective victimisation’ (2022) and ‘The link between family identification, loneliness, and symptom severity in people with eating disorders’ (2022).

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Wakefield, J. (2019, September 27). Social Influence – Prejudice - Explanations for Prejudice [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Wakefield, J. "Social Influence – Prejudice – Explanations for Prejudice." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 27 Sep 2019,

Image Credits

"Theodor W. Adorno" by Jjshapiro, licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0