Explain the formation of stereot

Explain the formation of stereotypes and their effect on behavior

How do stereotypes form? Sociocultural learning, categorization, and schema processing

  • Stereotypes are a salient part of our social and cultural environment. We learn them through daily interactions, conversations and through the media.

ยท         Stereotypes are, to some extent, based on individual experiences but cultural and social factors also play a role, i.e. stereotypes are contextualized and not simply the results of individual cognitive processing. Stereotypes can be shared by large sociocultural groups as social representations.

  • The most common cognitive process involved in stereotyping is social categorization. Categorization (and stereotyping) seems to be fundamental to human nature and it helps to make the world more predictable. Once stereotypes are formed they act as cognitive schemas in information processing.
  • Stereotypes are simplified mental images which act as templates to help interpret the social world.
  • Stereotyping is, to a large extent, an automatic cognitive process (i.e. it occurs without intention, effort, or awareness and is not expected to interfere with other concurrent cognitive processes.

Study to use: The Princeton Trilogy

What is the effect of stereotypes on behavior?



  • Social groups are categorized into ingroups and outgroups. Once people are categorized as belonging to one group rather than another they tend to emphasize similarities to individuals in that group and exaggerate differences between groups. Stereotypes of outgroups are often central to group identity.
  • People tend to pay attention to stereotype-consistent information and disregard stereotype-inconsistent information (confirmation bias).
  • Negative stereotypes may be internalized by stereotyped groups (stereotype threat).

Study to use: Darley and Gross (1983)