For much of its history, the movie industry portrayed African-Americans as being unintelligent, lazy, or violence-prone. As a result of viewing these stereotyped pictures of African-Americans, for example, prejudice against African-Americans has been encouraged. In the same way, physically attractive women have been and continue to be portrayed as unintelligent or unintellectual and sexually promisc
In the absence of the "total picture," stereotypes in many cases allow us to "fill in the blanks." Our society often innocently creates and perpetuates stereotypes, but these stereotypes often lead to unfair discrimination and persecution when the stereotype is unfavorable.
Stereotypes also evolve out of fear of persons from minority groups. For example, many people have the view of a person with mental illness as someone who is violence-prone. This conflicts with statistical data, which indicate that persons with mental illness tend to be no more prone to violence than the general population.
We often store stereotypes in two parts. First there is the generalized descriptions and attributes. To this we may add exemplars to prove the case, such as 'the policeman next door'. We may also store them hierarchically, such as 'black people', 'Africans', 'Ugandans', 'Ugandan military', etc., with each lower order inheriting the characteristics of the higher order, with additional characteristics added.
Subtyping model: We create a new stereotype that is a sub-classification of the existing stereotype, particularly when we can draw a boundary around the sub-class. Thus if we have a stereotype for Americans, a visit to New York may result in us having a ‘New Yorkers are different’ sub-type.
Conversion model: We throw away the old stereotype and start again. This is often used when there is significant disconfirming evidence.
Bookkeeping model: As we learn new contradictory information, we incrementally adjust the stereotype to adapt to the new information. We usually need quite a lot of repeated information for each incremental change. Individual evidence is taken as the exception that proves the rule.
It is easier to create stereotypes when there is a clearly visible and consistent attribute that can easily be recognized. This is why people of color, police and women are so easily stereotyped.
People from stereotyped groups can find this very disturbing as they experience an apprehension (stereotype threat) of being treated unfairly.
In conflicts, people tend to develop overly-negative images of the other side. The opponent is expected to be aggressive, self-serving, and deceitful, for example, while people view themselves in completely positive ways. These stereotypes tend to be self-perpetuating. If one side assumes the other side is deceitful and aggressive, they will tend to respond in a similar way. The opponent will then develop a similar image of the first party, and the negative stereotypes will be confirmed. They may be grow worse, as communication is shut down and escalation heightens emotions and tension.
Stereotypes are generalizations, or assumptions, that people make about the characteristics of all members of a group, based on an image (often wrong) about what people in that group are like