Stereotyping, according to "Social Psychology
" by Aronson, Wilson and Akert," is a generalization
about a group of people in which identical characteristic
s are assigned to virtually all members of the group, regardless of actual variation among members. For example, all Asian
s are smart.
Stereotyping is different from prejudice
in that prejudice
involves a hostile or negative attitude
toward a distinguishable group based solely on their membership in that group.
The reason why we stereotype
is to process all the incoming information we receive every second of every day. There's incredibly too much going on around us for us to process it all, so we form schema
s of what we perceive, thus forming stereotype
There are gender stereotype
s such as women are more nurturant and less assertive and men are domineering and commanding. If a man succeeds it is because of his ability. If he fails it is because of bad luck or low effort. If a woman succeeds, she "tried hard." If she fails, it is because she was not able to handle the task at hand.
Whether or not we believe these stereotypes
, they can affect us negatively. For example, a study done of 46 Asian-American
s at Harvard University
was given what they thought was a difficult, 12-question math
test. They were split up into two groups. The first group, before they took the test, had to answer questions about their heritage
such as "How many generations of your family have been living here?" which reinforced the stereotype
s are good at math
. The other group had to answer questions about their gender
such as "Do you live in a co-ed or single sex dorm
?" which reinforced the stereotype
that woman aren't good at math. At the end of the test, the group that was asked about their heritage
scored an average 56% while the group that was asked about their gender
scored an average of 43%.