Explain the formation of stereotypes and

Topics: Stereotype, Prejudice, Social psychology Pages: 1 (494 words) Published: May 25, 2014

SC4: Explain the formation of stereotypes and their effect on behaviour.

Stereotypes are often referred to as mental representations (e.g. personalities, attitudes, behaviour) or forms of “social categorization,” which are carried on to categories of individuals. This occurs when individuals encounters experiences with certain individuals of a group, and those experiences are correlated to all the members where that individual belongs, known as the “Illusory correlation.” Taking account of this, stereotypes must derive with some “grain of truth.” Three ways that explains the formation of stereotypes include the social-cognitive theory, the social identity theory and the system-justification theory. The social-cognitive theory explains that, since our world is filled with an abundance of information and the limiting capacity to process all information, social generalizations are rather made to a group of people. The SIT theory is based on the formation of identifying in-groups and out-groups and how the perception of these groups, influence behavior. Moreover, system-justification theory addresses negative self-stereotyping, in which groups in a lower position tend to associate the negative stereotypes to them. Similarly, stereotypes are formed like schemes, in which past experiences are organized into mental representations of individuals of a group, which are taken into account future guiding principles.

The effects of forming generalizations can either be positive, such as Filipinos are bright and friendly people, but also negative and discriminative, such as Filipinos are poor and the majority works as nurses abroad. With that being said, prejudice may be an effect, such that negative attitudes are drawn from unjustified past experiences. An example of this situation is in Darley and Gross’s 1983 experiment on the role of schemas, in which participants saw a video of a girl playing in a poor and rich neighborhood. From there, participants were shown...
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