MCAT Social and Behavioral Sciences : Prejudice

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for MCAT Social and Behavioral Sciences

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Prejudice

Which of the following most accurately represents prejudice?

Possible Answers:

Development of an opinion without knowledge or consideration of pertinent facts

Negative emotion centered on a person different from oneself

Emotion-based bias in favor of one's own cultural identity

An opinion drawn from personal experience with a subject

An innate bias, either for or against a subject, present from birth

Correct answer:

Development of an opinion without knowledge or consideration of pertinent facts

Explanation:

Prejudice forms when an opinion is made without consideration of relevant facts.

Prejudices can be positive or negative, despite their common association with negative bias, and generally involve the equation of a group-identity to a single individual. Opinion about the individual is formed based on the perceived association with the group. Personal experience with a subject is inherently absent from the formation of a prejudicial opinion. Examples of prejudice include racism, sexism, agism, and classism.

Example Question #2 : Prejudice

Diana takes the subway to and from school every day. Her family’s apartment, situated in a low-income neighborhood of New York City, is a thirty-minute walk from the subway station. During her trips to the subway, Diana loves to watch people work, play, and socialize. She feels very safe in her community because she trusts the people around her. 

At school, Diana is talking with two girls who live in a nicer part of town. When Diana explains where she lives, one of the girls scrunches her nose and makes a disapproving noise. The girl says that Diana should be careful in that area. Diana asks, “Have you ever been there?” The girl responded by saying that she has not but feels like it sounds like a bad area. Which of the following best describes the girl’s method for concluding that Diana’s neighborhood is dangerous?

Possible Answers:

Social Darwinism  

None of these

Prejudice

Discrimination

Correct answer:

Prejudice

Explanation:

“Prejudice” is described as forming a negative or stereotypical opinion about someone or something with no real basis. “Discrimination” usually refers to an institutional policy that is partial to one group. If we were informed that the rich communities were getting richer and the poor communities were getting poorer, then this could be an example of “social Darwinism.”

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