Prejudice and discrimination remain major global issues with far-reaching consequences. People are not born prejudiced; rather, prejudice is learned. Since people keep on learning throughout their lives, understanding how basic learning processes interact with prejudice could be an important step towards the reduction of prejudice. Much of people’s daily learning occurs instrumentally: through consequences of interactions. Therefore, the first aim of this project is to increase understanding of how instrumental learning may influence prejudice and vice versa. Next, we seek to change prejudiced responses by designing an intervention based on principles of instrumental learning. Finally, we examine the robustness of our intervention by comparing its effectiveness with a comparable, existing intervention. In doing so, we aid in understanding and changing prejudice contributing to social equality.
An Instrumental Learning Approach to Understanding and Changing Prejudice