9 Questions

What is the difference between stereotypes and prejudice?

What is stereotype content?

How do stereotypes form?

What is correspondence bias?

What is stereotype threat?

What is the consequence of stereotype formation?

What is attributive ambiguity?

What is the role of stereotypes in depression?

What is the effect of stereotypes on hiring decisions?


Understanding Stereotypes

  • Stereotypes are generalized beliefs about a particular category of people, which may or may not accurately reflect reality.

  • Stereotypes can be explicit (conscious) or implicit (subconscious).

  • Stereotypes are related to but different from prejudice, racism, and discrimination.

  • Stereotype content refers to the attributes that people think characterize a group.

  • Stereotypes can serve cognitive functions on an interpersonal level and social functions on an intergroup level.

  • Stereotyping can help make sense of the world, simplify and systematize information, and act as a time- and energy-saver.

  • Stereotypes can be used to explain and justify social events and differentiate ingroups from outgroups.

  • Stereotypes can emphasize a person's group membership and serve as indicators of ingroup consensus.

  • Stereotypes can form through individual experiences with groups, patterns of communication about those groups, and intergroup conflict.

  • Correspondence bias, which refers to the tendency to ascribe a person's behavior to disposition or personality and to underestimate situational factors, can play an important role in stereotype formation.

  • Stereotypes can persist due to the cognitive effects of schematic processing and the affective or emotional aspects of prejudice.

  • Stereotypes can have prejudicial effects and lead to inaccurate judgments about individuals.Understanding Stereotypes: Illusory Correlations, Common Environment, Socialization, Intergroup Relations, and Activation

  • Stereotypes can develop based on a cognitive mechanism known as illusory correlation, which leads people to misattribute rare behaviors or traits to minority group members at higher rates than to majority groups, even when both groups display the same proportion of the behaviors or traits.

  • Stereotypes are shared because of a common environment that stimulates people to react in the same way, although research suggests that people are highly similar in how they describe different racial and national groups, even when they have no personal experience with the groups they are describing.

  • People are socialized to adopt the same stereotypes, and stereotypes are usually acquired in early childhood under the influence of parents, teachers, peers, and the media, although stereotypes can change as per changes in social values.

  • Shared stereotypes are neither caused by the coincidence of common stimuli nor by socialization but by the motivation of group members to behave in certain ways, and stereotypes reflect those behaviors, which is the consequence, not the cause, of intergroup relations.

  • Stereotypes are automatically activated, and the unintentional activation of the stereotype is equally strong for high- and low-prejudice persons, although the level of prejudice and stereotype endorsement affects people's judgments when the category – and not the stereotype per se – is primed.

  • Stereotype activation can automatically influence social behavior, such as walking more slowly when primed with the stereotype of the elderly, and activated stereotypes about blacks can influence people's behavior, such as shooting the target faster when he was black than when he was white.

  • Stereotypes can be inefficient shortcuts and sense-making tools that keep people from processing new or unexpected information about each individual, thus biasing the impression formation process, although some aspects of ethnic and gender stereotypes are accurate while stereotypes concerning political affiliation and nationality are much less accurate.

  • Attributive ambiguity refers to the uncertainty that members of stereotyped groups experience in interpreting the causes of others' behavior toward them, affecting a person's self-esteem and making it difficult to assess one's skills because performance-related evaluations are mistrusted or discounted.

  • Stereotype threat occurs when people are aware of a negative stereotype about their social group and experience anxiety or concern that they might confirm the stereotype, which has been shown to undermine performance in a variety of domains.

  • Stereotypes lead people to expect certain actions from members of social groups, which may lead to self-fulfilling prophecies, in which one's inaccurate expectations about a person's behavior prompt that person to act in stereotype-consistent ways, thus confirming one's erroneous expectations and validating the stereotype.Stereotypes: Definition, Examples, and Effects

  • Stereotypes can simplify and justify social reality, leading to discrimination in labor markets and other domains.

  • Employers seeking applicants with stereotypically male heterosexual traits are particularly likely to engage in discrimination against gay men.

  • Automatic obesity stereotypes captured by the Implicit Association Test can predict real hiring discrimination against the obese.

  • Gender stereotypes play an important role in judgments that affect hiring decisions.

  • Stereotypes can cause racist prejudice.

  • Stereotypes can affect self-evaluations and lead to self-stereotyping.

  • Stereotyping can also play a central role in depression when people have negative self-stereotypes about themselves.

  • Stereotypes can become a substitute for observation and a misinterpretation of a cultural identity.

  • Stereotypes are common in various cultural media, where they take the form of dramatic stock characters.

  • The characters that do appear in movies greatly affect how people worldwide perceive gender relations, race, and cultural communities.

  • Stereotypes are also common in video games, with women being portrayed as stereotypes such as the "damsel in distress" or as sexual objects.

  • In literature and art, stereotypes are clichéd or predictable characters or situations.


Do you know what stereotypes are and how they affect our perceptions of others? Take this quiz to test your understanding of stereotypes, including their definition, formation, and effects. You'll learn about illusory correlations, common environment, socialization, intergroup relations, and activation, as well as examples of stereotypes in various cultural media. Increase your knowledge of this important topic and gain insight into how we can challenge and overcome stereotypes.

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