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What is Stereotypes

Stereotypes are generalizations, or assumptions that people make about the


characteristics of all members of a group based on an image (often wrong) about
what people in that group are like. For example, one study of stereotypes
revealed that Americans are generally considered to be friendly, generous, and
tolerant, but also arrogant, impatient, and domineering. Asians, on the other
hand, were expected to be shrewd and alert, but reserved. Clearly, not all
Americans are friendly and generous; and not all Asians are shrewd. If you
assume you know what a person is like, and don't look at each person as an
individual, you are likely to make errors in your estimates of a person's character.

In conflicts, people tend to develop overly-negative images of the other side. The
opponent is expected to be aggressive, self-serving, and deceitful, for example,
while people view themselves in completely positive ways. These stereotypes
tend to be self-perpetuating. If one side assumes the other side is deceitful and
aggressive, they will tend to respond in a similar way. The opponent will then
develop a similar image of the first party, and the negative stereotypes will be
confirmed. They may be grow worse, as communication is shut down and
escalation heightens emotions and tension.

Effects, accuracy, terminology

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 effects of stereotyping can fluctuate, but for the most part they are negative,
and not always apparent until long periods of time have passed. Over time, some
victims of negative stereotypes display self-fulfilling prophecy behavior, in which
they assume that the stereotype represents norms to emulate. Negative effects
may include forming inaccurate opinions of people, scapegoating, erroneously
judgmentalism, preventing emotional identification, distress, and impaired
performance. Stereotyping painfully reminds those being judged of how society
views them.

Yet, the stereotype that stereotypes are inaccurate, resistant to change,


overgeneralized, exaggerated, and destructive is not founded on empirical social
science research, which instead shows that stereotypes are often accurate and
that people do not rely on stereotypes when relevant personal information is
available. Indeed, Jussim et al. comment that "Ethnic and Gender Stereotypes
Are More Valid Than Most Social Psychological Hypotheses".

Stereotype accuracy is a growing area of study and for Yueh-Ting Lee and his
colleagues they have created an EPA Model (Evaluation, Potency, Accuracy) to
describe the continuously changing variables of stereotypes.
Stereotypes Matter

Stereotyping is especially prevalent -- and problematic -- in conflicts. Groups tend


to define themselves according to who they are and who they are not. And
"others," especially "enemies" or "opponents" are often viewed in very negative
ways. The opponent is expected to be aggressive, self-serving, and deceitful, for
example, while people in one's own group are seen in generally positive ways.
Similarly, if problems occur, blame is often placed on "the enemy," while one's
own contribution to the problem is ignored. For example, problems may be
attributed to the opponent's lack of cooperativeness, not one's own; or the
enemy's aggressiveness, not their fear of one's own aggressive stance. Even
similarities between parties can be viewed differently: one's own competitiveness
may be seen in a positive light as "tough, effective negotiating," while the
opponent's competitive actions are seen as "hostile and deceptive."

Such stereotypes tend to be self-perpetuating. If one side assumes the other side
is deceitful and aggressive, they will tend to respond deceitfully and aggressively
themselves. The opponent will then develop a similar image of the first party and
respond deceptively, thus confirming the initial stereotype. The stereotypes may
even grow worse, as communication shuts down and escalation heightens
emotions and tension.

Advantages

Although stereotypes generally have negative implications, they aren't


necessarily negative. Stereotypes are basically generalizations that are made
about groups. Such generalizations are necessary: in order to be able to interact
effectively, we must have some idea of what people are likely to be like, which
behaviors will be considered acceptable, and which not.

For example, elsewhere in this system there is an essay about high-context and
low-context cultures. People in low-context cultures are said to be more
individualistic, their communication more overt, depending less on context and
shared understandings. High-context cultures are more group-oriented. Their
communication is more contextually based, depending more on shared
understandings and inferences.

Such generalizations are, in essence, stereotypes. They allow us to put people


into a category, according to the group they belong to, and make inferences
about how they will behave based on that grouping. There will still be differences
between individuals from one culture, and with the same individual in different
situations. But the stereotype is reasonably accurate, so it is useful. Stereotypes
are only a problem when they are inaccurate, especially when those inaccuracies
are negative and hostile.
Topic:

Stereotyping
Presented To:

Mam Farasat Kamran

Presented By:

Muhammad Ahmad
BBC-08-57

BAHAUDIN ZAKARIYA UNIVERSITY


MULTAN

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