chapter  1
28 Pages

What Are Stereotypes?

ByPerry R. Hinton

Stereotypes are viewed as pejorative descriptions that support prejudice against a social group and its members. Using a stereotype is considered objectionable, and when people are presented as acting in a counter-stereotypical way this is viewed positively. The first place to look for a definition of a ‘stereotype’ is in a dictionary. Social psychologists have shared the concern of sociologists about the negative and prejudicial aspects of stereotypes that link them to discrimination in society. One of the most important psychology books about stereotypes is The Nature of Prejudice by Gordon W. Allport in published in 1954. Stereotypes are cognitive frameworks that influence the processing of social information’. Stereotypes may reflect the structure of that culture, and hence can be considered as part of a person’s cultural knowledge rather than necessarily a set of false beliefs. The chapter also presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in this book.