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 Prejudice and StereotypingTheresa Vescio, Kevin WeaverPrejudice and stereotyping are biases that work together to create and maintain social inequality. Prejudice refers to the attitudes and feelings—whether positive or negative and whether conscious or non-conscious—that people have about members of other groups. In contrast, stereotypes have traditionally been defined as specific beliefs about a group, such as descriptions of what members of a particular group look like, how they behave, or their abilities. As such, stereotypes are cognitive representations of how members of a group are similar to one another and different from members of other groups. Importantly, people can be aware of cultural stereotypes and have cognitive representations of those beliefs without personally endorsing such stereotypes, without feelings of prejudice, and without awareness that such stereotypes could affect one’s judgment and behavior. Prejudice and stereotyping are generally considered to be the product of adaptive processes that simplify an otherwise complex world so that people can devote more cognitive resources to other tasks. However, despite any cognitively adaptive function they may serve, using these mental shortcuts when making decisions about other individuals can have serious negative ramifications. The horrible mistreatment of particular groups of people in recent history, such as that of Jews, African Americans, women, and homosexuals, has been the major impetus for the study of prejudice and stereotyping. Thus, the original conceptions and experiments were concerned almost entirely with conscious, negative attitudes and explicitly discriminatory actions. However, as the social acceptability of prejudice and stereotypes has changed, the manifestations of prejudice and stereotypes have also changed. In response to these changes, and given that people who reject prejudice and stereotyping can still unwittingly internalize stereotypic representations, the study of prejudice and stereotyping has recently moved to include beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors that could be considered positive and not obviously or overtly prejudiced. Importantly, even when prejudice and stereotypes are ostensibly positive (e.g., traditional women are wonderful and adored), they preserve the dominance of powerful groups: they not only limit the opportunities of stereotyped groups but also produce a litany of negative outcomes when those group members defy them. Because of these new conceptions of bias, there have also been methodological adaptations in the study of prejudice and stereotyping that move beyond the conscious attitudes and behaviors of individuals to measure their implicit prejudice and stereotypes as well. This article gives a quick tour through the social psychological study of prejudice and stereotyping to inform the reader about its theoretical background, measurement, and interventions aimed to reduce prejudice.

Stereotyping Has Lasting Negative ImpactPrejudice has lingering effects, study shows.By April Kemick, University of Toronto
Aggression. Over-eating. Inability to focus. Difficulty making rational decisions. New research out of the University of Toronto Scarborough shows prejudice has a lasting negative impact on those who experience it.
“Past studies have shown that people perform poorly in situations where they feel they are being stereotyped,” said Professor Michael Inzlicht of psychology, who led the study, published in this month’s edition of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. “What we wanted to do was look at what happens afterwards. Are there lingering effects of prejudice? Does being stereotyped have an impact beyond the moment when stereotyping happens?”
In order to determine whether negative stereotyping in a particular situation had lasting effects, Inzlicht’s team performed a series of tests. First, they placed participants in situations where they had to perform a task in the face of negative stereotyping. After the participants were removed from the prejudicial situation, researchers measured their ability to control their aggression, eat appropriate amounts, make rational decisions, and stay focused.

Their results show that prejudice and stereotyping have lingering adverse impacts.
“Even after a person leaves a situation where they faced negative stereotypes, the effects of coping with that situation remain,” says Inzlicht. “People are more likely to be aggressive after they’ve faced prejudice in a given situation. They are more likely to exhibit a lack of self control. They have trouble making good, rational decisions. And they are more likely to over-indulge on unhealthy foods.”
In one portion of the study, researchers had a group of women write a math test. They told the women this test would determine whether or not they were capable and smart in math, subtly injecting stereotypes about women and math skills “into the air,” said Inzlicht. A separate group of women wrote the same test, except this group was given support and coping strategies to deal with the stress they’d face when writing the test.
After completing the math test, the two groups performed another series of tasks designed to gauge their aggression levels, their ability to focus and to exercise self control.
“In these follow-up tests, the women who felt discriminated against ate more than their peers in the control group. They showed more hostility than the control group. And they performed more poorly on tests that measured their cognitive skills,” said Inzlicht.
The pattern remained the same, regardless of the test groups. People who felt they were discriminated against - whether based on gender, age, race or religion - all experienced significant impacts even after they were removed from the situation, says Inzlicht.
“These lingering effects hurt people in a very real way, leaving them at a disadvantage,” said Inzlicht. “Even many steps removed from a prejudicial situation, people are carrying around this baggage that negatively impacts their lives.”


We should try to avoid stereotypes and being trapped in a "single story". According to the author Chimamanda, the danger of a single story emphasizes our differences, rather than our similarities. With an open mind and a genuine desire to get to know others, we can escape our cultural cocoon and embrace diversity. If you have ever experienced stereotyping, then you know what a strong negative effect can have on you. Literature and reading in general will broaden our horizons and decrease the risk of seeing things from one perspective. "When we realize that we  can reject the single story, that there was never a single story about any place, we regain a kind of paradise. " (Chimamanda Adichie).
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Bias comes in many forms, including race, age, gender, and ethnicity and can be universal or location specific (Fiske, 2010). Biased individuals believe the biases they are applying to others are right without regard for the truth (Fiske). Prejudice, stereotyping, and discrimination are all somewhat similar; however, they are also very different. Each form of bias is performed by one individual or group of individuals judging another individual or group of individuals prior to obtaining factual knowledge of the individual or group (Fiske). However, each form of bias is performed with a different focus. According to Fiske, stereotyping is the application of an individual’s own thoughts, beliefs, and expectations onto other individuals.
12/22/2015 • 
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