Why Do People Stereotype

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Stereotyping has been an integral part of human interactions and one of the building blocks of society since individuals have had the ability to process their premeditated opinions on both other individuals and wider groups. There is an ever growing interest in stereotyping, how the process works and its effects; inevitably the same question seems to re occur, why do people stereotype? This essay will cover all the aspects of psychological theories that seek to answer the increasingly popular question, why do we stereotype? A stereotype is defined as “Shared beliefs about person attributes, usually personality traits, but often also behaviours, or a group of people” (Yzerbyt, Rocher, Schadron, P20, 1997). The word that seems most essential in this definition is “attributes”. Attribution is a concept explaining how individuals elucidate their own and other’s behaviour. This would therefore suggest that stereotyping is simply away in which we, as social objects, try to obtain and understand information. This essay will divulge into the reasons why stereotypes exist, why we necessitate them, and whether they are positive or negative traits to behold. The cognitive approach to stereotyping suggests that stereotypes are inevitable processes that we have no control over. Macrae et al (2002) provided evidence that suggested and very much supported the cognitive theory of stereotyping. The research showed that during ovulation women are much more attracted to facial symmetry and masculinity. The results also demonstrated that during “high conception risk” women are much quicker at categorising male faces than they are female faces. This would therefore seem to suggest that the categorisation process is highly influential dependent of hormone levels. If we were to base our judgement on stereotypes relative to categorisation, solely on this research, it would appear that
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