Peer Prejudice and Discrimination: The Origins of Prejudice

Peer Prejudice and Discrimination: The Origins of Prejudice

Peer Prejudice and Discrimination: The Origins of Prejudice

Peer Prejudice and Discrimination: The Origins of Prejudice


This award-winning book provides an analysis of the genetic/evolutionary, cultural/historical, and developmental aspects of prejudice and discrimination. It emphasizes how certain genetic/evolutionary mechanisms are utilized to both produce and prevent prejudice and discrimination from occurring or to modify these behaviors once established. The goals of the book are to help us understand the limitations of interventions and increase tolerance and acceptance of outsiders. Peer Prejudice and Discrimination, Second Edition is ideal for advanced-level courses on prejudice and/or discrimination taught in departments of psychology, education, and sociology, as well as a valuable addition to any serious scholars personal library.


My overall goal for this book is to give the reader genetic/evolutionary, cultural/historical, and developmental analyses of the development of prejudice and discrimination. These analyses also emphasize how certain of the genetic/evolutionary mechanisms can be utilized either to prevent prejudice and discrimination from occurring, or to modify these behaviors once they are established. The mechanisms are simple, yet powerful. And if applied systematically, they may have the desired effects of increasing tolerance and acceptance of the outsider.

I've been mulling about and "mining" a genetic/evolutionary view of human development for more than 30 years, since I started writing my first book, Evolution, Development, and Children's Learning (1976). It's an exciting area of research, and many in the field of psychology have now incorporated an evolutionary view into their writing.

Peer Prejudice and Discrimination is intended both for the individual scholar and for advanced undergraduates and graduate students for classroom use. I've used the first edition for both groups of students, both in the United States and India, where I was a Fulbright lecturer in 1994. After a short period of uneasiness or uncertainty about a genetic/evolutionary approach, most students come to both appreciate it and value it. It was very gratifying also that my peers in Developmental Psychology at the American Psychological Association awarded the first edition of this book the first Eleanor Maccoby Book Award in 1996.

This second edition gave me the opportunity to make some improvements on the first edition, as well as to incorporate new material whose shape was unknown to me when the first book was published. There are . . .

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