Formation of Stereotypes

Topics: Social psychology, Cognition, Sociology Pages: 4 (1250 words) Published: November 19, 2011
Formation of stereotypes

Stereotypes can be defined as a widely shared assumption about the personalities, attitudes and behavior based on group membership for example, for example ethnicity, nationality, sex race and class”. They can be recognized as schemas , in other words a representation of a plan or theory in the form of an outline or model. However, it is important that although stereotypes are highly exaggerated, they are based on the real facts. This can be seen throughout the grain of truth hypothesis. This hypothesis is a result of personal experience from one member of a group which will then be applied to the general group. There are three different theories regarding the formation of stereotypes: the social-cognitive theory, SIT theory, the system-justification theory and the social representation theory.

The social cognitive theory suggests that the formation of stereotypes is based on many reasoning. For one, our social world is very complex and presents us with too much information. The social reality is emphasized with the media and the communication facilities that have been developed at the present time. Tis has an effect on the formation of stereotypes as the population is much more aware of the issues and events from the other countries. Also, as said before, it is a complex reality; therefore, the human being will simplify the reality in order to understand it. Another way of simplifying the information our social words provides us is by performing social categorization. We will group certain facts and make a general link with certain groups of people, for example ethnicity, social class or other. This can be illustrated by the following example: if Jake sees on the news that a murder has been committed and it is said the killer is a middle aged Afro-American man from a low social class, Jake will therefor make a link between the ethnicity, the social class and the criminal case, he would therefor create a stereotype based on a social...
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