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Stereotypes contribute to prejudiced thinking - Research Paper Example

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The discourse would initially define both terms to assist in answering the question. In addition, this essay would likewise proffer the rationale for my personal conviction as to whether…
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Stereotypes contribute to prejudiced thinking
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Running Head: Stereotype and Prejudiced Thinking The Relation between Stereotype and Prejudiced Thinking This essay is written to determine how stereotypes contribute to prejudiced thinking. The discourse would initially define both terms to assist in answering the question. In addition, this essay would likewise proffer the rationale for my personal conviction as to whether positive stereotypes are as harmful as negative stereotypes.
Definition of Terms
The American Heritage Dictionary (2000) define stereotype as “a conventional, formulaic, and oversimplified conception, opinion, or image.” It is likewise defined as “something agreeing with a pattern; especially: an idea that many people have about a thing or a group and that may often be untrue or only partly true.” (Merriam-Webster Dictionary, 1997, 711). On the other hand, prejudiced thinking is defined by Stangor ( 2000, 22) as “thinking ill of others without enough warrant”. Ferguson (2004) averred that prejudice is an “attitude toward the members of some group based solely on their membership in that group (can be positive or negative).”
How stereotypes contribute to prejudiced thinking.
Stereotypes are therefore generalized and confined according to distinct characteristics of persons or members of certain groups. As such, stereotyping distorts perceptions of people since once these traits are activated; those are the ones that come immediately to one’s mind – without justified warrant. As averred by Ferguson (2004) “prejudice often involves stereotypes, suggesting that all members of a group behave in certain ways and have certain characteristics.”
Positive versus Negative Stereotypes
I believe that stereotyping, whether positive or negative are both harmful in such as way that they become “self-confirming” (Ferguson, 2004), confining and distorting; and affect social judgments we have of others. As such, even positive stereotypes could have true characteristics not revealed to those who generalized them. Therefore, whatever relationships or interactions one has would be distorted due to stereotyping, eventually leading to prejudice (even positive or negative). The ability of stereotyping to give illusionary impacts makes them harmful despite their positive characteristics.
References
Ferguson, T.J. (2004). Chapter 5: Perceiving Groups (Prejudice, Stereotyping, and
Discrimination). Retrieved 08 Dec. 2009. < http://www.usu.edu/psy3510/prejudice.html>
Merriam-Webster Dictionary. (1997). Definition of Stereotype. Merriam-Webster, Incorporated.
Stangor, C. (2000). Stereotypes and prejudice: essential readings. Psychology Press.
The American Heritage Dictionary. (2000). Definition of Stereotype. Fourth Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company Read More
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