SC4: Explain the formation of
stereotypes and their effect on
Michael F.
Deona _?
What’s a stereotype and how are they
• A stereotype is: A widely held but fixed and oversimplified
image or idea of a particular type of person or thing
• Stereotypes are formed through Personal experience with
individuals and groups or media, parents, and other members
of our affiliated group (culture)
How do stereotypes affect behavior?
• Stereotypes can affect behavior by showing
how a person interacts with a certain person
based upon a stereotype they came up with.
• Also stereotypes affect behavior in a way of
being in a certain group and possibly filling
said person’s stereotype and conforming to
that idea.
The “Grain of Truth” hypothesis
(Campbell, 1967)
• One explanation for the formation of stereotypes is that they derive,
however loosely, from some aspect of social reality. This does not mean
that any particular stereotypes of an out group is in some way objectively
‘true’, but rather that a group’s culturally distinctive or different patterns
of behavior could provide the seed-bed in which stereotypical perceptions
could flourish.
• (In quick note form: The grain of truth hypothesis shows how actions of a
certain group could be misconstrued as “normal”, when this assumption is
not fully true in most cases.)
• This hypothesis had problems with it among knowing Attribution errors
are common in society.
Ford &Stangor (1992)
• formation of new group stereotypes. They found that the traits that most
objectively distinguished two target groups were most likely to emerge as
central to a set of stereotypic beliefs about groups. Ford &Stangor asked
psychology students to participate in an experiment in exchange for
course credit. They were presented with booklets of behavioural
descriptions of 2 fictitious groups (blue group and red group). Descriptions
related to either friendly, intelligent or other behaviours. However
differences were emphasized in each group – ie. the blue group had more
descriptions of friendly but less intelligent behaviours (eg. “ A member of
the blue group failed his driving test for the fourth time) and vice versa.
• When later asked to give spontaneous characterizations of the groups
participants characterized the groups in terms of their differences. Thus
supporting the idea that stereotypes therefore originate in experiences of
group differences and must contain at least a ‘grain of truth’.
Steele and Aronson (1995)
Stereotype Threat
• African Americans performed worse than
European Americans on a verbal test when told
that the test genuinely reflected their verbal skill African performed as well as the European
Americans on tests when told that the test was
merely to study how problems are generally
• -Steele (1997) argues that spotlight anxiety is
responsible for stereotype threats because the
emotional distress and pressure can undermine
Illusionary Correlation, Hamilton and
Gifford (1976)
• We see a relationship between two variables that
actually have no relationship and overestimate a
link between the two variables (i.e.)A woman
who is awful at driving
-After the illusory correlation has been made we
use confirmation bias to gather more evidence to
support our illusory correlation. From this, we
will tend to find more bad female drivers but
ignore female race drivers.