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Can We Stop Ourselves from Stereotyping Other People?

Autor:   •  January 24, 2019  •  Research Paper  •  3,844 Words (16 Pages)  •  81 Views

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Can We Stop Ourselves From Stereotyping Other People?

Word Count: 2503

Stereotyping can occur spontaneously and rather unconsciously (Moskowitz, 2005). Stereotype activation, the process of stereotypic knowledge becoming activated and accessible in one's mind, and stereotype application which is when people apply the activated stereotypic knowledge onto the member of the stereotyped group, are the two processes involved (Kunda & Spencer, 2003).  In addition, there is powerful evidence showing that stereotyping, though not necessarily negative, is somewhat innate and may be established in kids’ mind before they have the cognitive ability to perform critical thinking (Allport, 1954). As a result, the belief to battle stereotyping is relatively new in people’s cognitive structure (Higgins & King,1981). The primacy effect suggests that the first information people receive has a greater influence on people than information received later (E.E. Jones & Goethals, 1972).  Thus, as found in various studies, controlling, reducing and inhibiting stereotypes requires conscious attention and involves a controlled process, similar to remove a bad habit (Devine,1989). “Stop stereotyping” is a general statement of the quest. Specifically, the challenge is to either tackle stereotypic knowledge or stop influencing people’s action or turn into prejudice. However, since stereotypes activation may happen automictically by the mere presence of stereotypic cues (Devine, 1989), various researches focused on reducing stereotype application, trying to prevent the activated stereotypic thinking from affecting ones’ judgment. Studies revolving around factors like attention availability, goals, and motivation,  perspective taking and theoretical models like the Continuum Model (Fiske & Neuberg, 1990) and the Dissociation Model ( Devine, 1989) have shown evidence that stereotyping can be contained.

         Continuum model indicates that one’s evaluation process of others is one single continuum of impression formation (Fiske & Neuberg, 1990). On one end, lies the initial stereotyping social categorization, and individuated evaluations of others on the other end. Along the continuum, one will decide whether the encountered individual is worthwhile for evaluation and gather attention if the answer is positive. If the evaluation result neither can be fitted to the original categorization or recategorized to a new one, the perceiver would generate a more individuated response. Another possible route is that the perceiver finds the individual not worth to deploy more attention to evaluate and just retreat to the default option of making stereotypic responses (Fiske & Neuberg, 1990). The key is whether or not the subject found the individual being received as interesting or personally relevant. Other researchers have also shown people might inhibit stereotype that undermines the person they desired to form a positive impression. (Sinclair & Kunda, 1999).

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