Our perception of others depends on how we "classify": children, women, politics, seniors, etc. The perception of objects with similar characteristics helps us to form concepts. Similarly, people are classified by us as belonging to a particular group, socio-economic class, or physical characteristics.
This creates stereotypes that we generate too conventional and simplistic view of other people. If, relying on stereotypes about the person we further establish contact with him, knowing that it can be expected, it often deprives us of an incentive to understand him as a person.
First term stereotype used a classic of American journalism, Walter Lippmann (Walter Lippmann), which in 1922 published the book "Public Opinion." These words he was trying to describe the method by which society tries to categorize people. Lippman has identified four aspects of stereotypes. In the future, there have been several other shades, but to some extent they were based on the ideas of Lipman.
- Stereotypes are always easier than reality. Sophisticated features stereotypes expressed in one sentence.
- Stereotypes are rarely the result of our personal experience. Most often, we buy them from the group to which we belong (from parents, friends), from the media who are trying to give a simplified view of the problems — especially those about which we do not have any information.
- All Stereotypes are false. They attribute a particular person traits that he must have just because of their membership in a particular group.
- Stereotypes die hard. Even if people are convinced that the stereotype is not true, they tend not to give it up, and argue that the exception proves the rule.
Stereotypes are a part of popular culture. They can be formed on the basis of age (for example, "youth is terribly ill-bred"), sex ("all men want from women only sex"), religion ("Islam — the religion of terror"), etc.
Segregation between groups can only help to consolidate stereotypes and convergence groups, by contrast, leads to a change of stereotypes, and sometimes — to their complete destruction. For example, an experiment was conducted, during which representatives of different races lived in the same building on different floors. As a result of their Stereotypes preserved and even strengthened. Conversely, many of the stereotypes of these groups collapsed when they began to take one floor, facing the same household difficulties and solving problems together.
Stereotype has the cognitive and motivational function. That is, it represents the information in the most easy and understandable way. But the same information can disorient a person if it is strongly at odds with reality. Most succinctly put it, Charles Buckley, the basketball star: "You understand that the world is not what you thought when you learn that the best rapper — white (referring to Eminem), the best golfer — black, the tallest basketball player — Chinese (NBA superstar Yao Ming, the growth of 2 m 29 cm), and the Germans do not want to fight in Iraq. "