Search results1 – 3 of 3
Purpose – Are members of socially dominant groups aware of the privileges they enjoy? We address this question by applying the notion of hypocognition to social privilege…
Purpose – Are members of socially dominant groups aware of the privileges they enjoy? We address this question by applying the notion of hypocognition to social privilege. Hypocognition is defined as lacking a rich cognitive or linguistic representation (i.e., a schema) of a concept in question. By social privilege, we refer to advantages that members of dominant social groups enjoy because of their group membership. We argue that such group members are hypocognitive of the privilege they enjoy. They have little cognitive representation of it. As a consequence, their social advantage is invisible to them.
Approach – We provide a narrative review of recent empirical work demonstrating and explaining this lack of expertise and knowledge in socially dominant groups (e.g., White People, men) about discrimination and disadvantage encountered by other groups (e.g., Black People, Asian Americans, women), relative what members of those other groups know.
Findings – This lack of expertise or knowledge is revealed by classic cognitive psychological measures. Relative to members of other groups, social dominant group members generate fewer examples of discrimination that other groups confront, remember fewer instances after being presented a list of them, and are slower to respond when classifying whether these examples are discriminatory.
Social Implications – These classic measures of cognitive expertise about social privilege predict social attitude differences between social groups, specifically whether people perceive the existence of social privilege as well as believe discrimination still exists in contemporary society. Hypocognition of social privilege also carries implications for informal interventions (e.g., acting “colorblind”) that are popularly discussed.