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The authors propose a justification-suppression model (JSM), which characterizes the processes that lead to prejudice expression and the experience of one's own prejudice. They suggest that "genuine" prejudices are not directly expressed but are restrained by beliefs, values, and norms that suppress them. Prejudices are expressed when justifications (e.g., attributions, ideologies, stereotypes) release suppressed prejudices. The same process accounts for which prejudices are accepted into the self-concept. The JSM is used to organize the prejudice literature, and many empirical findings are recharacterized as factors affecting suppression or justification, rather than directly affecting genuine prejudice. The authors discuss the implications of the JSM for several topics, including prejudice measurement, ambivalence, and the distinction between prejudice and its expression.

I do not ask for final honesty, Since none can say, "This is my motive, this is me." --Donald Hall, "A Friend Revisited"

The expression of prejudice is marked by a deep conflict between a desire to express an emotion and, at the same time, to maintain values and self-concepts that conflict with prejudice. In this article, we examine the nature of this conflict and develop a general framework for understanding how this conflict can lead to the expression of prejudice. The scientific literature on the psychology of prejudice is long and large, but the theories and studies tend to be about specific problems and prejudices, not the phenomenon of prejudice. We develop the justification-suppression model (JSM) to encompass the best known and empirically supported theories, incorporating many of their common elements. The goal of the JSM is to provide an integrative framework that helps to organize a range of previous studies and theories into a coherent review and analysis. We provide a simple structure for conceptualizing the process of prejudice expression and the experience of prejudice; this structure leads to several hypotheses about the expression and suppression of prejudice.

Definition of Prejudice

We define prejudice as a negative evaluation of a social group or a negative evaluation of an individual that is significantly based on the individual's group membership. This simple and broad definition differs from other definitions in a number of ways.

Allport (1954) argued that a prejudice must be "unfounded"; it must "lack basis in fact" (p. 7). After 43 pages of discussion on determining whether a prejudice has a basis in fact, he concluded that it is a nearly hopeless task to establish when prejudice is rational or justified: "The study of groups, so far as it has gone, does not permit us to say that hostility toward a group is to any appreciable extent based on 'well-deserved reputation'" (Allport, 1954, p. 125).

With regard to our theoretical assumptions, we do not define prejudice as "irrational," because it is virtually impossible to ascertain rationality (see Brown, 1995). A more important reason to avoid the issue of rationality is, we argue, that the psychological processes that lead to prejudice and its expression are identical for "rational" and "irrational" prejudices. Regardless of their foundation in fact--whether they are complete fantasies, based on a kernel of truth, the whole cob, or an entire silo of truth--the psychological processes of prejudice do not depend on a hypothetical "objective" observer's evaluation of accuracy.

The basic unit in a psychological theory should be a psychological process, and it is the phenomenological reality of the perceiver that is the explanandum of psychological theory, not the meta-analytic results of carefully conceived social researches. As such, we eschew the psychologically false dichotomy of rational-irrational in our definition of prejudice.

Although "positive prejudice" may exist, we emphasize negative prejudice for three reasons. First, negative prejudice is more harmful, damaging, and disruptive to social interaction and social justice (Brown, 1995; J. M. Jones, 1997). Second, the empirical literature on positive prejudice toward out-groups is scanty. Third and most important, our model describes the process by which an underlying prejudice becomes experienced and expressed.



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(2010, 11). Obesity. Retrieved 11, 2010, from

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"Obesity." 11, 2010. Accessed 11, 2010.