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Mind-SocietyFrom Brains to Social Sciences and Professions$
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Paul Thagard

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190678722

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190678722.001.0001

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Prejudice and Discrimination

(p.107) 5 Sociology

Paul Thagard

Oxford University Press

Social mechanisms of communicative interaction influence and are influenced by mental mechanisms of representation, inference, and emotion. Discrimination is an important problem that results from social causes such as institutions but also from psychological causes such as prejudice. Prejudice operates in individual minds through representations and processes that include concepts, images, beliefs, rules, and emotions. Emotions are a key part of the force of prejudicial concepts, not just because of their general negativity but also because of specific emotions such as fear, anger, hatred, resentment, contempt, and disgust. Important sociological ideas such as identity, social norms, and institutions can be deepened by understanding how concepts and rules operate in human minds. The semantic pointer theory of communication provides the social mechanism that complements the cognitive mechanism of conscious and unconscious rule operation.

Keywords:   communication, discrimination, institution, prejudice, semantic pointer, social mechanism, social norm, sociology, stereotype

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