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Nursing: A Critique of Three Articles

The present-day interpersonal preconceptions are to some extent come as a result of some psychological mechanisms that came up for the purposes of giving individuals protection from the danger of infectious disease. This system of behavioral immunity sufficiently promotes the avoidance of disease but also leads to an overgeneralized discrimination toward individuals who are not genuine disease carriers.

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This paper is going to confirm the validity of the findings of some three studies that were conducted by Huang, Sedlovskaya, Ackerman and Bargh in the year 2011, which tested whether the experiences with two present forms of protection from disease; that is hand washing and immunization attenuate the association between concerns regarding infection and intolerance against foreigners or out-groups.

The research carried out by various experts as it can be seen in the article show non-clear or apparent implications of the comprehension of the behavioral immune system. They carried out their first research when the epidemic of HIV became rampant. To prime concerns over disease, their subjects were advised to read the news excerpts so as to gain or acquire information regarding the probable risks of the disease.

The participants were then required to fill out a model of the present scale of racism, which had items like immigrants have over the last few years received more economically than they are supposed to. The participants were then asked by the researchers whether they had been vaccinated against some of the diseases to prevent HIV from contacting the body.

The first study showed that when the immunized participants were threatened with infection, they showed less prejudice against strangers than those who had not been vaccinated. In the second study, they established that immunization messages’ framing in terms of vaccination did away with the association between prejudice and chronic germ avoidance.

In the third study, they did a direct manipulation of the individuals’ infection by having some of them wash their hands and established that this intervention had a substantial influence on the perceptions of the participants of other strangers. The study suggests that public health measures can be beneficial to the community in areas afar the immediate domains that are health-related by informing new, latest prejudice remedies.

The outcomes of the study showed that the subjects were immunized against prejudice by the vaccination, whereby those who had been infected by the flu demonstrated less discriminatory attitudes as compared to those that had not. This outcome was not a result of the pre-available difference in prejudice between those that get immunizations and those that do not, since the difference just came out in those who had had the prime illness concern, out of a control condition.

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According to evolutionary psychologists, prejudice is entrenched in survival; our forefathers were forced to keep off the strangers who were suspected of carrying infections. When individuals feel susceptible to disease, they show more prejudice toward the stigmatized groups. However, there may be a modern means of breaking that link. If concerns about infections could be alleviated, it could also be possible that the prejudices caused by them are alleviated. The sense of safety derived via interventions like hand washing and immunization can lessen prejudice against strangers.

For instance, how would one feel if they are informed about the rising number of immigrants from Ethiopia? Would their feelings be different had they lately heard of the flu shot? What if they had washed their hands just before the question was asked. It is very expensive to wait until one’s body is really attacked by viruses or bacteria, and the body at times is overcome by the attackers. Disease for long has been a threat to the survival of human beings; like in the instance of the native North American’s decimation by the European germs (Austen, 2006).

Instead of waiting to be attacked by an infection or illness, it is much more important to avert infection by keeping off from the out-group members who are coughing, sneezing, or even showing some other symptoms of sickness (Amos, 2003). Considering that individuals from far-flung or distant foreign locations may also be having foreign infections to which immunity was not developed by the great grandfathers, individuals who are worried about infections may be expected to step up their avoidance of strangers.

Huang and his colleagues have found this to be true, for instance, in a multi-racial or cultural community on the lately flattened earth, we find that this kind of behavioral immune reaction has the cost of increased or enhanced dislike of foreigners. For instance, Canadians who are worried about infections have much opposition to immigrations from foreign regions like Sri Lanka and Ethiopia.

Nevertheless, instead of one just throwing up their hands and making an assertion that that is the nature of human beings, social psychologists who are evolutionarily oriented claim that the comprehension of the mechanisms of discrimination can substantially help in the designing of better interventions or remedies. Among the individuals who are continually concerned about infections, the protection frame substantially boosts their positive attitude towards foreigners.

According to the researchers, individuals who are very much concerned about infections are more negative toward the foreigners. However, they believe that it is very possible for the negative attitudes to be eradicated through a very simple means remedy; that is asking the individuals to use an antiseptic wipe in the cleaning off of their hands.

The researchers believe that information regarding the relationships between infection or illness and the intergroup attitudes can actually be influenced to counteract discrimination or intolerance. Hand-washing together with vaccination are already recognized and acknowledged by the officials of public health as one of the best ways of decreasing the spread of infections.

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Nonetheless, it is true that those initiatives can substantially have a double advantage in an open community, by the reduction in the microbial negative effects of dislike of foreigners or xenophobia (Allport, 2006). This research is exceptional in bringing together social cognitive psychology, evolutionary psychology together with the public health, and holds the hope for the reduction of social and physical problems at once.

Therefore, it is beyond reasonable doubt that public health interventions or remedies such as the washing of hands and vaccinations or immunization could be contemporary intervention for an antique affliction. When these public health programs are enhanced, the issue of biases or prejudice against the individuals who are perceived and foreigners and possible having foreign infections will be a gone case, as people will not be afraid to associate with them. Actually, race, gender, ethnicity and HIV stigmatization in women is mainly linked to culture and how people perceive it.

Culture has different impacts on the life of a people depending on how it controls their activities. There are some basic elements of culture that are shared by all people. Every culture controls its people differently in relation to matters pertaining to marriage and ways of obtaining food and shelter. It developed during the pre-historic times as they gave guidance to our fore fathers.

Culture is always constant and does not undergo any development or improvement no matter the circumstances that arise. This is so because it gives a clear reflection to the characters of our fore fathers. Culture is also the origin of the traits people from one community share. There are various negative impacts of culture that at times cause great harm to members of that particular community. These impacts are directly linked to the issue of marriage and family relationships. Kinship is another problem that affects members governed by certain traditions


Allport, G. (2006). The Nature of Prejudice. Reading, Mass.: Addison-Wesley.

Amos, J. (2003). Lonely, Feelings. Raintree Steck Vaughn.

Austen, J. (2006). Pride and Prejudice. Norton Critical Edition. Gray, Donald, ed. New York: W. W. Norton & Company.

Huang, J.Y., Sedlovskaya, A., Ackerman, J.M., & Bargh, J.A. (2011). Immunizing against prejudice: Effects of disease protection on attitudes toward out-groups. Psychological Science.Published online Nov. 4.

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