The Stereotype Content Model This model of social cognition was first proposed by Susan Fiske and then

detailed by Douglas Massey in Categorically Unequal. The model posits that social cognition operates along the two independent axes of warmth and competence, which yields a map of “social space” with four quadrants.

Pitied outgroup Warmth

Esteemed in-group

Despised out-group

Envied outgroup


The grid creates one in-group (upper-right quadrant) and three out-groups, the bottom-left of which is of most concern to us. The in-group often associates the despised out-group with the emotion of disgust, sometimes to the point that the out-group is viewed as subhuman. Some neuroimaging studies even suggest that despised out-groups are “dehumanized at the neural level,” i.e., the regions of the brain that are normally activated in social encounters are suppressed when a member of the in-group encounters members of the despised out-group.1 Because of the way this dehumanization creates social stratification, the despised out-group may be ripe for exploitation. A number of the marginalized groups whose welfare we’re concerned with, including undocumented immigrants, so-called welfare queens, and formerly incarcerated persons. Envy and Scorn Recent work by Susan Fiske expands the affects associated with the social space described above.



there is ample evidence of stress-related harms to health associated with experiencing racism.3 Therefore. for both whites and blacks. Consequences. Richeson & J.Fiske shows that pervasive scorn and envy arise when our natural tendency to compare ourselves with others collides with a society that is stratified from top to bottom by race. Potential Responses   Allport’s contact hypothesis. gender. etc. e.g. More recent work in social psychology suggests that. interracial contact per se can be quite stressful. SCI. in fact. . one way to reduce conflict and negative affects between the in-group and out-groups would be to exposé them to each other. See. a key task for improving race relations is to be mindful of the contexts and conditions that facilitate positive interracial interactions for both minority and majority participants. Nicole Shelton. For example. class. powerful people who scorn demeaned out groups are often willfully ignorant of other people’s emotional lives. SCORN DOWN: HOW STATUS DIVIDES US (2011). insofar as racism is often a direct expression of scorn.2 Fiske also shows that scorn and envy harm both the agents and targets of the negative affects. and Possibilities. For 2 3 See generally SUSAN T. CURRENT 16 DIRECTIONS IN PSYCH. from the other direction. which leads them to miss important information. ENVY UP. Interracial interactions.. FISKE. Negotiating Interracial Interactions: Costs. Jennifer A. As applied to the social field described above. 316 (2007).

g. as early as possible. may . the majority group.”5 That is. which translate into the actions that eventuate in group inequality. Evidence suggests that efforts to end this harmful arrangement must include programs designed to bring in-groups and out-groups together—spatially. and (4) informal social integration. In her recent book.4 Anderson’s integration imperative. “promoting racially and culturally diverse environments whenever and wherever possible. . A common thread that runs through all these proposals is that the current arrangement of social space in America harms both majority and minority groups. helping minorities avoid the need to employ compensatory strategies to avoid expected racial discrimination reduces the stress of interracial contact. But she goes further and argues for a comprehensive model of integration that proceeds in four steps: (1) formal desegregation. be the best prescription for the development of positive interracial contact experience” for both majority and minority groups. . on the other hand. erase group-based status hierarchies. and intimacy. ELIZABETH ANDERSON. (2) spatial integration. in the criminal justice system). (3) formal social integration. at 320. Jennifer Richeson’s work shows that it is important to create situations in which these participants are not primed to be concerned with avoiding the appearance of being prejudiced. THE IMPERATIVE OF INTEGRATION 116 (2010). and otherwise. Elizabeth Anderson argues that as a matter justice and good public policy. emotionally. For the minority group. it is imperative to end segregation in access to opportunity structures in America. Richeson suggests that. . Pervasive structural inequality combines with equally pervasive stereotypes and biases (both conscious and unconscious) to yield a toxic mix of envy and scorn that feeds into existing inequality to reproduce the social system. end any remnants of Jim-Crow style racism (e. 4 5 Id. and break down walls in the domains of trust. integrate neighborhoods. because interracial contact tends to become less stressful the more one experiences it. Changing groups’ minds about each other is a necessary step on the path to changing the sets of emotional responses they have to each other.. cooperation.

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