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Rogers & Frantz (1961

One of the principles of the Sociocultural Level of Analysis is that humans are social beings with a
fundamental need to belong. Part of this need to belong is shown in our conformity to social norms. Norms
give us feelings of connectedness. New members to a group learn how to speak, what thoughts and feelings
are appropriate, and how to act. Following these norms allows people to find a role within a group and
experience a sense of belonging. By adopting group norms we demonstrate our commitment to the group
and our pride in “who we are.” Psychologists say that the group has a normative influence on its members.

In virtually every society, socioeconomically disadvantaged groups, regardless of ethnicity, are seen as
ignorant, lazy, dirty and untrustworthy. The social roles of individuals shape stereotypes. Economic,
political and historical factors create social roles which are assigned to certain groups. By ignoring the
effects of the roles and attributing behaviour to dispositional factors, stereotypes are formed. New members
to the group conform to their new social role and adopt the stereotypes that are the norm.
When most people move to the Czech Republic, they have no stereotypes about the Roma people. The
Roma, often referred to as gypsies, are a socioeconomically disadvantaged ethnic group that have a long
history of discrimination in Europe. Someone moving from Australia or Columbia to the Czech Republic
probably does not have any preconceived stereotypes of this ethnic group. After living in the Czech
Republic, many expatriates adopt the prevailing stereotypes of the majority Czech population about the
Roma people - even though they do not have any personal experience with the Roma people themselves.
In 1961 Rogers & Frantz carried out a study to see if people new to Zimbabwe - then called Rhodesia would adopt the stereotypes and feelings of prejudice about the local African population.

Design & Procedure
Rogers & Frantz wanted to test the hypothesis that in South Rhodesia (today's Zimbabwe) the attitudes of
European settlers about Africans would be inversely correlated to the amount of time that they had lived in
the country - that is, as the length of their residence increased, race attitudes would become more
“conservative.” The researchers defined conservatism as wanting to maintain a system of racial
The sample consisted of 500 White Europeans aged 20 and over, living in Rhodesia for a period of less
than five years to over forty years. The sample was a stratified sample according to sex, country of birth,
age and length of residence. There were eight other variables that were accounted for in the demographics
of the sample, including level of income and occupation. It was felt by the researchers that the sample was
highly representative of the local white community.
The method was a survey containing sixty-six examples of laws and customs in which White Europeans
and Africans were treated differently - this included the use of racially segregated lands, lack of political
representation, the use of public facilities, and cross-racial sexual relations. Four response choices were
provided with 0 for it is very important to maintain the current system, 2 for a weak feeling of importance,
4 is for a preference for discontinuing the law and 6 for is very important to discontinue the law. This was a
Likert Scale survey but with only four options, which makes gravitation toward the mean less likely -- that
is, when five options are given, participants tend to choose option "3" unless they have strong opinions.


It appears that the stereotypes and attitudes about the African population were integrated into the identities of the newcomers as they began to identify with their new group and accept their new "social role. they may present a stronger opinion than they would if they were put into an authentic situation and observed. but when they actually see someone of another race in a park. One of the limitations of this study is that it was not longitudinal .it was cross-sectional. strengths and limitations to this study. compared to newcomers.12) illustrating that the majority of Europeans in Southern Rhodesia favoured the retention of the status quo. It is impossible to isolate these factors and determine how they interact. length of schooling. it is questionable to what extent this study could be transferred to other situations. could we apply this research to people moving to the United States. This means that it is highly likely that this could be generalized to the remaining members of this population without any problem. occupation.12 means that there was a lot of variation within the sample. there are. district of residence and income were not found to be statistically correlated with attitudes about race in any significant way. residents who were there for 5 . the Czech Republic or Singapore? The answer is that research in the US has supported the argument that we adopt the stereotypes about out-groups that are held by our in-group. A person may check that they support having racially segregated parks. collective racism) without really thinking about how this would affect their behaviour? . To evaluate the significance of the correlation between length of residence and "conservatism. other factors besides length of residency play a complimentary role in developing attitudes about the out-group. when people answer a survey. First." Critical thinking Although this study supports the idea that we conform to social roles and thus stereotype or develop attitudes toward out-groups. As admitted by the researchers.6.001 The scores indicate that new arrivals would inevitably change their attitudes over time. In addition. political party preference and length of residence in Southern Rhodesia. For example. of course. In other words. For example. sex.The mean score of the sample was 2. 348 of the 500 participants (almost 70 percent) fell below a mean score of 3. However. Lastly. a standard deviation of 1. the researchers cannot determine whether individuals’ attitudes changed over time. they would modify their beliefs and attitudes in the direction of the norm of the European population. religious affiliation. Age. Therefore.45 (SD 1. Significant statistical correlations were found between the Europeans’ country of birth. The Europeans who support the status quo least strongly were those who had been living in Southern Rhodesia for fewer than five years.00.9 years were 27% more conservative about maintaining segregated social and recreational facilities. the sample was very large and highly representative." a correlation was calculated and the level of significance was p < 0. would they act to have them removed? Would they be upset? Or are they simply saying what is "collective wisdom" (in this case. considering that the scores could range from 0 . because this is qualitative in nature.