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Stereotypes and Stereotyping

  • By: Galen V. Bodenhausen, Andrew R. Todd & Andrew P. Becker
  • In: Encyclopedia of Social Psychology
  • Edited by: Roy F. Baumeister & Kathleen D. Vohs
  • Subject:Social Psychology (general)
Definition

A stereotype is a generalized belief about the characteristics that are associated with the members of a social group. In 1922, the journalist Walter Lippmann first popularized the term stereotype, which he described as the image people have in their heads of what a social group is like. Early researchers examined the content of social stereotypes by asking people to indicate which psychological traits they associate with various ethnic and national groups (e.g., Germans, Blacks, Jews). This research indicated that there was a good deal of consensus in the public's image of these social groups, with generally strong agreement about which characteristics are typical of each group. There was also a tendency for these “pictures in our heads” to contain more negative than positive ...

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