Thursday, February 16, 2012

Discussion points for "The Social Psychology of Stereotypes"

My thoughts on the article "The Social Psychology of Stereotypes: Implications for Media Audiences":

Images and portrayals of groups in the mass media reinforce our automatic tendency to interpret information in a stereotypical way, even if we are not aware of it. Therefore the media only exacerbates the problem of prejudice and discrimination, making it harder to eliminate the problem entirely.

I do believe that the way we process new information is somewhat automatic, such as with stereotypes that have already been embedded in our minds. The media plays a big role in all of this, as we are subject to a 1,000-3,000 media images per day, as discussed in class. The media affects anyone no matter who you are; endorsers or non endorsers of stereotypes. It is how we work against them that can make a difference.

Question to the class: Have you ever found yourself drawing conclusions about a social group, even if you did not agree with the automatic stereotype? If yes, have you found it hard to work around the stereotype once they’ve been activated?


  1. GUILTY! I unfortunately draw conclusions about others all the time. When you meet someone, automatically put them in a box and realize they aren't at all what you thought (or they don't fit into the stereotype you assigned for them) you're shocked. Then you include them in your ingroup- but that's the thing, only that one person is there as an exception to the rule. The fact that the stereotype has been broken doesn't negate it- it stays in the recesses of your mind until you need to use it again and if need be, you make another exception. The stereotype needlessly stays around regardless of these "exceptions" to the rule.

  2. I completely agree! We have grown up with these stereotypes, and perhaps these things just can't be unlearned. I find it pretty awful to see someone as an exception, especially when someone else sees you as the exception. It will take a lot of time to disregard these pre-embedded stereotypes which have structure our society for such a long time.