Stereotypes Affect Perception

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What are stereotypes? Stereotypes are an overgeneralization applied to an entire group of people. There are many ways that stereotypes are portrayed in society such as jokes, literature, and other forms of media in our culture. They are typically based on minimal knowledge about a group. People may be grouped based on race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender or community. A number of theories have been derived from the sociological studies of stereotyping and prejudicial thinking. One theory as to why people stereotype others is that it is too difficult to take in all of the complexities of other people as individuals. Even though stereotyping is inaccurate, it is an efficient way to mentally organize large amounts of information. This is essential to the mental capability because it enables us to simplify, predict, and organize our world. Once a person has sorted and organized everyone into smaller categories, there is a tendency to avoid processing new or unexpected information about an individual. Assigning general group characteristics to members of a specific group saves time and satisfies the need to predict the social world around us. Another theory is that people stereotype others because of the need to feel good about themselves. Stereotypes can protect someone from feeling worthless and enhance self-esteem. This happens by designating their own group as the standard of society and assigning others to groups considered abnormal; it provides them with a sense of worth. Stereotypes often are created in the subconscious where it can change our decisions and actions even in people who do not want to be seen as bias. Does this mean that stereotypes can affect our perception of others? What is perception? It is the recognition of things using the senses while to others perception of something or someone is your understanding of them; perception is the process of attaining awareness or understanding of your environment’s information. Our personal...
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