Stereotypes Essay

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To adequately investigate the question as to whether stereotypes are the psychological lubricant on intergroup behaviour, several areas need to be considered. In the context of this essay the concept of stereotypes needs to be defined. Although Lippmann (1922) is credited with first using the term 'stereotype' in this context it is perhaps Brown (1995) who offers the most applicable definition when he wrote that "to stereotype someone is to attribute to that person some characteristics which are seen to be shared by all or most of his or her fellow group members." (p.83). With this definition in mind this essay will, firstly, in an attempt to address the question make a brief review of some of the research that has been …show more content…
Schaller and Maass point to Social Identity Theory (Tajfel & Turner, 1979), and self-categorisation theory (Turner, 1987) as the "most coherent contemporary models of motivational biases" (Schaller and Maass, 1991, p.190) in relation to social group membership. One of the key points with Social Identity Theory is that the very act of categorisation, regardless of group contact, is enough to produce in-group preference and differentiation from the out-group. According to the theory an individual's self esteem is related to his or her social category membership and therefore the individual seeks to make the social category appear in as positive a light as possible. This group differentiation can lead to the formation of stereotypes. Turner's self-categorisation theory states that individuals seek to form self-categorisations of themselves at many different levels ranging from the most abstract, as in the perception of the self as human, to the most defined, that of the self as a well-defined individual. As with Social Identity Theory, individuals seek to perceive themselves in a positive way and seek to establish a positive distinctiveness between the self and other in-group members and between the in-group and the
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