About the sterotyping and culture

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A stereotype is an exaggerated belief, image or distorted truth about a person or group — a generalization that allows for little or no individual differences or social variation. Stereotypes are based on images in mass media, or reputations passed on by parents, peers and other members of society. Stereotypes can be positive or negative. (Southern Poverty Law Center) One theory as to why people stereotype is that it is too difficult to take in all of the complexities of other people as individuals. Even though stereotyping is inexact, it is an efficient way to mentally organize large blocks of information.

Categorization is an essential human capability because it enables us to simplify, predict, and organize our world. Once one has sorted and organized everyone into tidy categories, there is a human tendency to avoid processing new or unexpected information about each individual. Assigning general group characteristics to members of that group saves time and satisfies the need to predict the social world in a general sense. Bargh thinks that stereotypes may emerge from what social psychologists call in-group/out-group dynamics. Humans, like other species, need to feel that they are part of a group, and as villages, clans, and other traditional groupings have broken down, our identities have attached themselves to more ambiguous classifications, such as race and class. We want to feel good about the group we belong to—and one way of doing so is to denigrate all those who who aren't in it. And while we tend to see members of our own group as individuals, we view those in out-groups as an undifferentiated—stereotyped—mass.

The categories we use have changed, but it seems that stereotyping itself is bred in the bone. Though a small minority of scientists argues that stereotypes are usually accurate and can be relied upon without reservations, most disagree—and vehemently. "Even if there is a kernel of truth in the stereotype, you're still applying a generalization about a group to an individual, which is always incorrect," says Bargh. Accuracy aside, some believe that the use of stereotypes is simply unjust. "In a democratic society, people should be judged as individuals and not as members of a group," Banaji argues. "Stereotyping flies in the face of that ideal." Stereotypes can have a negative and positive impact on individuals. Joshua Aronson and Claude M. Steele have done research on the psychological effects of stereotyping, particularly its effect on African Americans and women. They argue that psychological research has shown that competence is highly responsive to situation and interactions with others.

They cite, for example, a study which found that bogus feedback to college students dramatically affected their IQ test performance, and another in which students were either praised as very smart, congratulated on their hard work, or told that they scored high. The group praised as smart performed significantly worse than the others. They believe that there is an 'innate ability bias'. These effects are not just limited to minority groups. Mathematically competent white males, mostly math and engineering students, were asked to take a difficult math test. One group was told that this was being done to determine why Asians were scoring better. This group performed significantly worse than the control group. Possible prejudicial effects of stereotypes are: Justification of ill-founded prejudices or ignorance Unwillingness to rethink one's attitudes and behavior towards stereotyped group Preventing some people of stereotyped groups from entering or succeeding in activities or fields The problem, as Banaji's own research shows, is that people can't seem to help it.

A recent experiment provides a good illustration. Banaji and her colleague, Anthony Greenwald, Ph.D., showed people a list of names—some famous, some not. The next day, the subjects returned to the lab and were shown a second list, which mixed names from the first list with new ones. Asked to identify which were famous, they picked out the Margaret Meads and the Miles Davises—but they also chose some of the names on the first list, which retained a lingering familiarity that they mistook for fame. (Psychologists call this the "famous overnight-effect.") By a margin of two-to-one, these suddenly "famous" people were male. Participants weren't aware that they were preferring male names to female names, Banaji stresses. They were simply drawing on an unconscious stereotype of men as more important and influential than women. Something similar happened when she showed subjects a list of people who might be criminals: without knowing they were doing so, participants picked out an overwhelming number of African-American names. Banaji calls this kind of stereotyping implicit, because people know they are making a judgment—but just aren't aware of the basis upon which they are making it. Some of the stereotypes we typically encounter in ourselves and others can include: World Map of Useless Stereo types.jpg The World Map of Useless Stereotypes by Christoph Niemann Gender, Race, Age, Ethnicity, Religion, Sexual orientation, Body type, Dress, Income, Career/job, Country of origin, State of origin, City of origin Neighborhood, Renter or owner, Children or no children Pregnant Disability Education level, School or college attended, Married or single, Introverted or extroverted, Language, Vocabulary, Complexion, Hair color, Clothing, Accessories, Body art, Scented body products, Political party, Diet, Club memberships, Favorite sports, Favorite teams, Body odors, I think you get the picture - any and all characteristics can, in our minds, create a picture of that entire person and place that individual into a stereotypical group.

It is not just characteristics that set an individual apart that creates a stereotype, but also characteristics that cause us to place an individual as a member of a group, then infer that that individual is exactly like all other members of that group or that all members of that group are like that individual.That picture can then influence our jugements about that individual. Stereotypes can be positive (blonds have more fun) or negative (the Irish drink too much) in their originalintent, but are still an abbreviated and inaccurate characterization that can cause harm.

Question: Sterotyping and Culture

What would be the summary of the entire article list above in one's own words?

Reference no: EM131432907

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