A stereotype is described by the Oxford Dictionary

Every individual keeps stereotypes. A stereotype is defined by the Oxford Dictionary of Psychology (pg. 730) as: 'a relatively fixed and oversimplified generalisation about a group or category of individuals, usually concentrating on negative or unfavourable characteristics'. When people put too much beliefs in stereotypical descriptions of folks they may become prejudiced and can often discriminate against other organizations. This can be very dangerous and has resulted in countless atrocities, such as the racial purging of the Jews by the Nazis. Prejudices still are being fought through laws, such as Identical Opportunities legislation.

However, the subject being mentioned is not whether stereotypes are harmful or justifiable; it is whether they have a practical purpose, or are wasteful. It really is generally the common consensus that stereotyping and prejudice should not continue. However without stereotypes we may find the cultural world a whole lot harder to perceive and understand. We rely on stereotypes to help us function in society. With such a diverse populace, the surroundings we reside in could be very confusing. Regrettably stereotypes may block out a great deal of what makes our world so diverse and simply group people into simple categories. They could also affect peoples' choices in life. Job paths people may want to take could seem to be inappropriate for someone in their group and are also avoided.

From an evolutionary standpoint, stereotypes must have a use because they exist. People start creating stereotypes from a very young age and they are hard to break. However, having an objective doesn't exclude the actual fact that stereotypes are wasteful.

The main beneficial use of stereotypes is that they greatly increase cognitive processing. The planet is filled with people, each of them look unique and the all behave differently. If each individual chose to actively perceive and examine every individual they came across, there wouldn't be much time for anything else. This is why stereotypes exist. People can look around an area, see a spectral range of faces without having to stop to take into account each individual. This frees up the brain for much more important responsibilities.

Macrae, Milne, & Bodenhausen (1994) as cited by Taylor, Peplau, & Sears (pg. 184). conducted an test to see if the priming of stereotypes can leave the mind freer to process other information. Students were presented with a list of characteristic words for a person and, at exactly the same time, information about Indonesia. Fifty percent of these students were first given a group label for the average person, e. g. African american or Italian. Those given the group label appreciated more traits which were label constant and more information about Indonesia. This demonstrates that stereotypes make the cultural world a great deal simpler to process and are very helpful.

However, this oversimplification of the world we see may lead us to prejudice against other groupings, and can result in discrimination. People often look only at the negative characteristics of an organization. By doing this we may waste materials the important contributions that these different categories' perspectives can provide.

Taylor, Fiske, Eticoff, & Ruderman (1978) as cited by Taylor et al. (pg. 185) asked participants to observe a dialog between folks of a variety of races. When asked to remember which individual made certain contributions the members would often only have the ability to remember the competition of the average person. This shows that people often place far too much emphasis on group account and can ignore the attributes of the average person. This can lead people to disregard information that originates from a source that they could deem second-rate.

The second beneficial use of stereotypes is their ability to increase individuals self esteem. Everyone gets the prefer to increase their self-confidence and too little self esteem can result in depression and interpersonal isolation. Stereotypes can improve an individual's self esteem through lots of ways.

Tajfel (1982) as cited by Taylor et al. (pg. 188) proposed the Social Id Theory. This is actually the process where people categorise the communal world into in-groups, in which the individual is a member, and out-groups, into which everyone else is categorised. People can derive their self-confidence from their inclusion in the in-group if indeed they perceive their group to be superior to other groups. This is theory is improved by Tajfel, Billig, Bundy, & Flament, (1971) as cited by Taylor et al. (pg. 186) and their theory of In-group Favouritism. People will automatically positively discriminate towards their in-group, which promotes the view of a superior in-group. Also Ethnocentrism can play a role in promoting self esteem, through the assumption that the in-group is the centre of the cultural world which is superior to all out-groups.

While many people may claim that deriving self-confidence from the view of superiority is immoral, that is not the topic being reviewed. High self-confidence is an edge to all or any people, therefore any way for raising self esteem is seen as useful. But this method for promoting self esteem does come with disadvantages.

The Social Id theory can have quite negative effects on peoples' lives. If an individual holds a negative image of the in-group or the in-group is associated with a negative stereotype then this is harmful to the individual's self esteem. Asgari, Dasgupta & Gilbert Cote (2010) undertook a longitudinal analysis into how exposure to successful in-group people affected feminine students. They discovered that not only does the students have to have frequent connection with the role model, however they also needed evaluated the contact to be meaningful. This however not only improved upon their self idea of their in-group; it also elevated their career dreams and their proposal in their studies. This in turn led to improved academic success. This review demonstrates victims of stereotyping could believe that those stereotypes so much that it requires repeated, powerful discussion with stereotype inconsistent individuals to feel that they too can break out of the stereotype they find themselves in.

People that are exposed to negative stereotypes are also subject to stereotype menace. Stereotype threat was initially suggested by Aronson and Steele (1995) and it occurs when participants of an organization find themselves at the mercy of a poor stereotype. It ends in the individual being aware they are being stereotypically evaluated and so their performance, in areas from the stereotype, suffer. However, stereotype risk has been proven to spill over into many areas of living. Being in a stigmatized group can contribute to a number of societal problems, such as aggression, over weight, decision making and impulse control (Inzlicht & Kang. 2010).

This serves to maintain the negative stereotype. However the review by Inzlicht and Kang was a correlation study, and so cause and impact could not be inferred.

This is one example of how stereotypes can be self gratifying prophecies. Nonetheless they can also react in a good direction. If a person is aware of an optimistic stereotype about them then they can have a better performance. Shih, Pittinsky & Ambady (1999) as cited by Taylor et al. (pg. 172) proved that Asian women performed better at a maths test when the Asian stereotype was cued. Nonetheless they performed worse when the ladies stereotype was cued. These studies show how stereotypes can have a remarkable effect on our behaviour without any mindful action.

Stereotyping can also have affects on career choices. Women exposed to primes of gender inconsistent functions (e. g. a female surgeon) revealed lower enthusiasm for these assignments because of upward social comparability threat (Rudman & Phelan. 2010). They thought threatened when you are outperformed by someone in their in-group. If women didn't believe it was uncommon for women to be able to become a plastic surgeon, they may not have felt this comparison hazard. Also students are often choosing to not go into a profession in sales because of their stereotypes about salesmen. (Lee, Sandfield & Bhaliwal. 2007). Students think of salesmen as pushy and unsatisfied, hence they assume that if they were to go into sales then they would waste the time they spent on their level. This cuts off a profession path that may have been right for some students, nonetheless they choose not to take it as a result of stereotypes they maintain.

So while stereotypes do have some definite uses, they also create waste materials. Stereotypes increase cognitive handling, which is essential for people to operate in the diverse public environment where we find ourselves. That is at the price tag on the average person; we lose focus of every person and simply drive people into categories. Stereotypes can improve the self-confidence of some. However not absolutely all can gain the benefit of this boost in social personality. Stereotype danger can have a very negative effect of individuals' lives. Stereotypes can waste materials the potential of several people that contain rejected themselves, or have been denied through prejudice. Stereotypes have resulted in the needless waste of life in wars and through civil battles for equality. Therefore, while stereotypes provide an objective, they spend potential, information and enjoyment.

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