The Maintenance of Stereotypes.

1798 WordsJul 28, 20088 Pages
Although the nature of stereotypes are not essentially negative it has been found that stereotypes of out-group members are more likely to be negative than those of in-group members (Castelli et al. 2005; Perdue, Dovidio, Gurtman & Tyler, 1990). Despite this fact, engaging in stereotyping still occurs. In order to adequately understand why we continue to use stereotypes, when we know of the negativity that can be attached to them, several areas need to be considered. Firstly, in the context of this essay stereotypes need to be defined. Lippman (1922) can be credited for having coined the term as being a set of socially shared representations and beliefs about the characteristics, features and behaviours of members of a group (Lyons &…show more content…
When sufficient cognitive resources were available and the participants intended to process counter-stereotypic information (the gender neutral words) there was a complete reversal of stereotype priming (1996). So although priming is a powerful method in maintaining stereotypes it does not fully account for the continuation of stereotyping in the face of its negativity. As reported by Bodenhausen (1990) instead of processing incoming or new information, stereotypes rely on previously stored knowledge and as a result information processing becomes easier. Thus the maintenance of stereotypes could be partially due to a type of cognitive laziness. Instead of flexing the grey matter muscle and using cognitive energy to process the new information, people effectively ‘rest on their laurels’, without motivation to change them they are reinforced to continue using stereotypes (Blair & Banaji, 1996). However, as Macrae, Milne & Bodenhausen (1994) established, stereotyping can also occur as a way to free up resources which can then be used in other tasks. Either way stereotypes are a type of judgmental heuristic, a short cut we take when demands are high and resources low. For example, it was found that morning people, whose peak function was early on in the day, fell back on stereotypic responses in the afternoon and for afternoon people, whose peak function was later on in the day, it was
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