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Lesson 2. Tolerant and intolerant personality

Objectives: acquaintance with the concepts of tolerant and intolerant personality; development of tolerance for the “Other”, for otherness; awareness of the social and psychological characteristics of the “Other”.

The host can rely on the following theoretical provisions regarding the difference between a tolerant person and an intolerant person. G. Allport (Allport, 2003) notes that tolerant people know themselves better, not only their strengths, but also their shortcomings, and are therefore less satisfied with themselves. In this regard, they have a higher potential for self-development. An intolerant person notices more advantages than disadvantages, therefore he is more likely to blame others for all problems. It is difficult for an intolerant person to live in harmony both with himself and with other people. He fears his social environment and even himself, his instincts, lives in a sense of constant threat. A tolerant person usually feels safe. The absence of a threat or the belief that it can be dealt with is an important condition for the formation of a tolerant personality. Tolerant people, unlike intolerant people, do not shift responsibility to others and do not seek to blame others for everything. Intolerant people emphasize the differences between “their own” and “alien” groups. They cannot be neutral. A tolerant person, on the contrary, recognizes the world in its diversity and is ready to listen to any point of view. A tolerant person is more focused on himself in work, the creative process, and theoretical thoughts. In problematic situations, tolerant people tend to blame themselves, they seek personal independence. The need to belong to public institutions among intolerant people is much more pronounced than among tolerant people. Thus, two ways of personality development are distinguished: tolerant and intolerant.

G. Allport gives a generalized description of a tolerant personality in a number of ways:

? self-orientation (a tolerant person is more focused on personal independence, less on institutions and external authority);

? non-rigid need for certainty (recognizes diversity, is ready to listen to any point of view and feels less discomfort in a state of uncertainty);

? less commitment to order (a tolerant person is less oriented to the social order, less pedantic);

? ability to empathy (tendency to make more adequate judgments about people);

? preference for freedom, democracy (hierarchy in society does not matter much for him);

? knowledge of oneself (a tolerant person is well aware of his strengths and weaknesses and is not inclined to blame others for all troubles);

? responsibility (developed sense of responsibility, does not shift responsibility to others);

? security (a sense of security and the belief that the threat can be dealt with).

The main psychological criteria and indicators of tolerance are:

? social activity - willingness to interact in various social situations for the sake of achieving goals and building constructive relationships in society;

? divergence of behavior - the ability to unconventionally solve ordinary problems, tasks (search for several solutions);

? mobility of behavior - the ability to quickly change strategies or tactics, taking into account the prevailing circumstances;

? empathy - an adequate idea of ​​what is happening in the inner world of another person;

? sustainability - the constancy of social and moral motives of behavior in the process of interaction with other people.

Exercise 1

Each person is a unique person. In some ways, it is completely inimitable and beyond any competition. And everyone needs to believe in their exclusiveness. The host invites the group members to think about the fact that each of them is truly a “gift” for humanity. Each of the participants argues this statement, for example, in this way: “I am a gift for humanity, since I ...”

The host summarizes the statements of the participants, says that everyone has a lot of opportunities, a lot of things that make everyone unique, and that which unites everyone. Therefore, we need each other and each person can achieve success in life and make it so that other people next to him have a more fun and joyful life.

Exercise 2

The facilitator invites the group members to determine what unites them, despite the many differences. Each of the participants, introducing himself to each new interlocutor, asks questions regarding the psychological characteristics and interests that can unite the group members, and writes the result on a piece of paper. For example: we are both kind, considerate, pleasant in communication, we grew up in a religious family, we love to listen to classical music, we visit a concert, in a theater at least once a month, etc.

After the participants finish listing the similarities, the group may come to the conclusion that, despite physiological, biographical and gender differences, people accept and understand others based on the similarity of psychological characteristics or interests, which allows them to be tolerant of each other.

The task

Each member of the group in writing lists 15 characteristics characteristic of a tolerant personality, then he puts the “+” sign opposite to those qualities that, in his opinion, are more pronounced in him. Each participant introduces the group with the characteristics of a tolerant personality, which are written on the board. The number of answers for each quality is calculated; those qualities that scored the most points are a characteristic of a tolerant personality from the point of view of this group. Participants get the opportunity to compare their self-image (qualities marked with a “+” sign) with a portrait of a tolerant person created by the group. During the discussion, the participants determine the qualities of a tolerant and intolerant person and find out what qualities they lack in order to be considered tolerant people.

An example of the characteristics of a tolerant personality obtained as a result of the work of the whole group:

- patience;

- the trust;

- the ability to control oneself;

- indulgence;

- goodwill;

- the ability not to judge others;

- tolerance for differences;

- ability to empathize;

- listening skills.

It should be noted that tolerance is a more complex category for understanding and research than intolerance.
Indeed, any tolerant attitude necessarily requires reconciliation with some difference, while a person cannot mentally agree with a deviation that is significant to him. If you manage to reconcile yourself with honors, then it is necessary, on the one hand, to part with something (for example, with the desire to insult, suppress or supplant a person), and on the other, to remain committed to your own convictions. It is this struggle between adherence to one’s own views and recognition of the position and beliefs of others that defines tolerance as an internally tense category that is more difficult to understand than intolerance.

Intolerance is the rejection of another person, the unwillingness to coexist with other people (not like us); it manifests itself through destructive, conflict, aggressive behavior.

In the history of mankind, intolerance has been shaped by millennia, giving rise to wars, religious persecution and ideological confrontation. The emergence of intolerance to another is due to the psychological characteristics of a person: a sensation of an emerging threat from the outside world (sometimes only apparent) makes the psyche develop a plausible "rational" interpretation of the hostile attitude towards "others", towards those who are different in something. The result of this is the manifestation of prejudice and xenophobia - hostility towards strangers: other ethnic groups, religious minorities, specific social groups that differ from society in goals and interests. The criteria for “alienness” are not only racial or ethnic differences, “aliens” are determined by economic, gender and other characteristics. One of the significant reasons for intolerance towards strangers who are dissenters is that intolerance is a strong unity in society, so manifestations of intolerance and manifestation of hatred allow you to “strengthen” your own group. Thus, intolerance performs certain functions that are important both for society and for the group and the individual: group cohesion, based on the opposition to “strangers,” simplicity and clarity of group and personality identification, and the construction of rigid, hierarchical relationships in a group.

Exercise 3

One of the very important issues of gender intolerance is the attitude towards homosexuality. The modern theory of homosexuality considers it to be a by-product, but completely logical product of biological evolution, since nature is objectively interested in diversity and variability (Lukovitskaya, 2002).

Attitude to homosexuality in society is associated with deep-seated, often unaware, motives for shaping attitudes toward sexuality. Homosexuality in our society is often perceived as abnormality, pathology, and therefore, as some researchers note, causes, in addition to curiosity, “almost animal fear” because it threatens to “destroy the usual picture of the world”, where heterosexuality is the norm. According to the polls, men are often more categorical in their assessment of “gay orientation,” especially of men (Omelchenko, 2000).

The hostile attitude towards homosexuality is rooted not so much in the individual as in social psychology. In the scientific literature, the term “homophobia” is now replaced by the term “heterosexism”, which is defined as “an ideological system that denies, belittles and stigmatizes any non-heterosexual forms of behavior, identity, relationship or community” (Cohn, 1998). Cohn observes that the main socio-historical function of heterosexism is to maintain the inviolability of gender stratification based on male hegemony and dominance. In the light of this ideology, an independent woman is as much a perversion as same-sex love (Cohn, 1998).

The level of heterosexism in our society remains quite high. Practical psychologists are often also not without beliefs that prevent them from respecting the identity of homosexuals because of their sexual orientation. They share, for example, the notion that:

? homosexuality is contrary to the will of God and sinful;

? Gays, lesbians, and bisexuals are prone to depraved acts (this opinion is very common, but they forget that there are a lot of depraved heterosexuals too);

? homosexuality is an unnatural, painful and perverse form of sexual behavior;

? homosexuality is somewhat inferior to heterosexuality;

? members of sexual minorities cannot, as well as heterosexuals, raise children or build family relationships;

? homosexual relationships are empty and are associated only with obtaining sexual pleasure.

Equipment: a questionnaire for each participant (see Appendix).

Presenter’s instruction: “You are offered a list of questions for an independent answer and their understanding.”

After filling out the questionnaire, participants create subgroups of 3-5 people and compare their estimates, identifying matches and maximum differences. Each small group presents its findings to the whole group. These findings are compared and summarized.



1. Do you think homosexuality is the norm or pathology? Rate on a 10-point scale, where 10 is the norm, 1 is the pathology.

Pathology 1234567 8 9 10 Norm

2. How do you feel about a homosexual family? What feelings and emotions does she evoke in you?

3. In your opinion, do gay families need to be allowed to raise children if they want to (justify your answer)?

4. Imagine that you are gay or lesbian. What is your position in society? What do you think, how would you feel?

5. How do you think are you tolerant of gays:

Very tolerant 1098765432 1 Absolutely not tolerant of lesbians:

Very tolerant 1098765432 1 Absolutely intolerant

6. What do you think are the personality psychological differences: gay lesbians
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Lesson 2. Tolerant and intolerant personality

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