Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Stereotypes are as old as human culture itself. They reflect ideas that groups of people hold about others who are different from them.
A stereotype can be embedded in single word or phrase (such as, "jock" or "nerd"), an image, or a combination of words and images. The image evoked is easily recognized and understood by others who share the same views.
Stereotypes can be either positive ("black men are good at basketball") or negative ("women are bad drivers"). But most stereotypes tend to make us feel superior in some way to the person or group being stereotyped. Stereotypes ignore the uniqueness of individuals by painting all members of a group with the same brush.
Stereotypes can appear in the media because of the biases of writers, directors, producers, reporters and editors. But stereotypes can also be useful to the media because they provide a quick identity for a person or group that is easily recognized by an audience. When deadlines loom, it's sometimes faster and easier to use a stereotype to characterize a person or situation, than it is to provide a more complex explanation.
Stereotype - Irish presented in 19th century
Stereotype - Drinking
Stereotype - drink Guinness for breakfast
Stereotype - eat potatoes, bacon and cabbage
Stereotype - all called Paddy or Marry
Stereotype - very holy and devout Catholics
Stereotype - always wearing green accessories
Stereotype - wearing Aran sweaters
Stereotype - believe in Leprechauns
Stereotype - great singers and dancers
Stereotype - live in vee cottages
Stereotype - more sheep than people
Stereotype - Irish cailin with red hair
Recent work suggests that stereotype threat (ST) harms performance by reducing available working memory capacity. Is this the only mechanism by which ST can occur?
Introducing a negative stereotype about a social group in a particular domain can reduce the quality of performance exhibited by members of that group (Steele, 1997).
For example, when negative stereotypes are activated, African Americans perform worse on tasks described as assessing intelligence (e.g., Steele & Aronson, 1995),
Whites perform worse on tasks described as assessing natural athletic ability (e.g., Stone, Lynch, Sjomeling, & Darley, 1999), and women perform worse on math-related tasks (e.g., Spencer, Steele, & Quinn, 1999). Although the prevalence of stereotype threat effects has been
widely demonstrated across many diverse social groups and task types, relatively less is known about the cognitive processes that underlie these effects (Wheeler & Petty, 2001). That is, how does activating a negative performance-related stereotype lead to less-than-optimal skill execution among members of the stereotyped group?