Stereotype threat

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The threat of stereotypes has been observed to have a variety of repercussions. The majority of the time, these outcomes are negative. The majority of research have found that stereotypes have a negative impact on an individual's performance. The performance can be in academics or in extracurricular activities. Stereotypes affect everyone and every group. It cannot be said categorically that one group is safer than the other. Some of these impacts may be the result of internal blame for the failure. Individuals seek to identify some of the characteristics that generate stereotypes on a variety of occasions, particularly when they fail to attain them. As such, individual factors such as the internal factors or some of the factors that could be related to a situation can always be invoked. The stereotype is linked to behavioral consequences that are the opposite of the individual's intention. Another significant effect of the stereotype is the self fulfilling prophecy. People expect various favors and actions from certain groups. When this is not achieved, it can as well result to depression which has also been considered as another effect of stereotype. This act also lowers one's self esteem and that of the peers.


There are various perspectives in which one can understand stereotype. In most basic levels, it exits in both cognitive and motivational reasons. From the cognitive perspective, it is a type of mental short cut that majority of individuals relies on to obtain certain information quickly and effortlessly. According to the study of judgmental heutrics, it is stated that at any particular moment in time, there are always a number of stimuli that are competing for our attention. They have been seen as a heustrics that are used in simplifying the world that we live in thus making quick decisions and judgments about our society and other groups. However, on the other hand, stereotypes can also be viewed functionally useful to the individual perceiver. This paper, therefore, will examine the stereotype of mind, its causes and the major effects on the society.

Stereotyping is the association and the script that can be used to interpret what different groups are saying. As such, it is used in deciding what is right, wrong and making a choice response. The setback associated with a stereotype is the aspect of the implicit bias. Implicit bias refers to a relatively unconscious and some of the fairly automatic features of prejudiced judgment and social behaviors. Traditionally, psychologists have dwelt on discussing the implicit attitudes towards self-esteem, food, alcohol, consumer product and political values. They have ignored the implicit attitude towards some of the members of the socially stigmatized groups like the African Americans, LGBTQ community and women. The physiological research on the implicit bias and stereotype of mind can be said to resent, however, host of the metaphysical, ethical questions and epistemological about how these implicit biases and stereotypes could be pressing.

History and Methods of Implicit Social Cognition

The nature of prejudice has over the time remained to be a touch stone for the psychological research on most of the prejudice aspects. In this course, the study of prejudice of mind is seen to be having two distant and roots. The first stem is derived from the difference that exists between the controlled and the automatic processing that is made by some of the cognitive psychologists in the 1970s. The controlled processing was perceived to be voluntary attention taken to be demanding and that of limited capacity. The automatic processing was intended to unfold without necessarily involving attention as such it has nearly unlimited capacity and indirect measures of attitudes. What an individual says is normally not a good representation of what they feel, think or behave.


The majority of the philosophical works on the aspect of the epistemology of implicit bias tend to focus on three questions. firstly, do we have the knowledge of our implicit bias, if we do how? Secondly, is the emerging data on some of the implicit bias demands that we develop skeptic about the existence of our perplex beliefs? Thirdly, are we usually faced with dilemmas that exist between our epidemic and some of our ethical values?


Stereotypes are basically known as the thoughts of the unconscious states. However, this could be having several meanings: first, there could be no direct phonenology that is associated with the concurrent of the stereotype of mind. The second aspect of self knowledge is manifested through the agents involved. People can be unaware of the content of their attitude or their behaviors. Thirdly, the agents might also be unaware of the relations between them and the various beliefs in which their attitudes implicit. .According to most of the scholars the majority of the agents tend to lack "source" and the effect of their stereotype beliefs. However, these agents have "content awareness."


Psyolophical stereotype bias has focused on two related questions: Morals and the change of implicit bias. The change in the implicit bias for instance, examines whether agents can change their implicit biases or can control the effects of these stereotypes on their explicit judgments and behavior.

Moral Responsibility

Relationship of stereotypes and intergroup attitudes stereotypes like discrimination and prejudice are almost the same though they represent different concepts. Most of the scholars have regarded stereotype as the most cognitive components as it often occurs without consensus awareness. Prejudice on its part has been profoundly seen as the effective components of both the stereotype and finally, discrimination is considered to be one of the behavioral elements of a prejudiced reaction. Among this tripartite view, stereotype reflects the expectations and various beliefs regarding the characteristics of members of a given group while prejudice represents the emotional response where by discrimination is usually the action.

Despite being related, the elements of stereotype tend to exist independently. Stereotyping is linked to racial prejudice especially when people emotionally react to a given name of the group, evaluate the characteristics and acerbic to the characteristics of the group. Some of the possible prejudices that can affect stereotype include; justification of the ill-founded prejudices, the inability to think of one's attitude and behavior towards some of the major stereotyped groups and the avoidance of some people of stereotyped groups from entering or succeeding in certain events in life.

The Function of Stereotypes

Most of the early studies have suggested that stereotypes were primarily used by the repressed, rigid and the authoritarian people. In the current studies, this concept seems to be refuted. The current studies suggest that the ubiquity of the stereotypes has regarded stereotype as collective group beliefs. This means individual in same group tend to share same stereotypes. Most of the modern research have also been asserting to the full understanding of the stereotypes demands of two complementary perspectives.

The Relationship Between Cognitive and the Social Function

Stereotyping can also serve as cognitive functions on interpersonal levels and some of the social functions. In order for the stereotype to function in some of the intergroup level, the person must be able to see themselves as given part of group and this aspect must be salient for the individual.

Cognitive Functions

Stereotype can be used to help make sense of the world. They can be used to simplify and systematize information therefore the information can be easily indentified, predicted, recalled and reacted to. They are also the categories of pole or objects. Between the various stereotypes, the people or objects appear as different from each other as possible. Sense-making perspectives to social stereotyping include the self-categorization theory, the exemplar judgeability theory and other approaches based on the assimilation process and contrast. Stereotypes are viewed as energy saving instruments which people use to understand the world. Categorizing people and treating them as group members "saves" energy because it implies that all their diversity is ignored. This idea is the foundation of the cognitive approach to social stereotyping. An individual has limited capacity to execute specific cognitive tasks such as processing information. However, everyone exists in a complex, multifaceted environment that places huge demand on the limited cognitive function. The information overload leads to individuals taking shorts and adopt bias, and erroneous perceptions of the world and others. Historically, this negative perspective of stereotype has been embraced. As a result, stereotypes are viewed as aids of understanding, and also as tools of misunderstanding.

Some of the scholars have suggested appropriate solutions as to why people find it rather easier to understand categorized kind of knowledge. First, people are able to consult a category to help in the identification of patterns. Secondly, the categorized information is considered to be more specific than non categorized information due to the categorized properties shared by the members of the group. Individuals find it difficult to describe objects in a given category since the objects in the same category tend to have distinct characteristics. Finally, peoples have the tendency of taking for granted the characteristics of particular category since the category in itself may be having an arbitrary grouping.

A complementary tends to theorize the stereotypes functions as one that saves time and energy. It also allows people to act more efficiently. Another perspective also suggests that the concept of people biased preposition of their context As such in this context it can be said that people tend to use stereotypes as shortcuts to help in making sense of their social contexts.

Social Functions

This aspect is helpful in the following situations. First, it is deemed necessary when explaining some aspects of social events, secondly, justifying various activities of a given group, finally differentiating in-groups.

Formation of the Stereotype of Mind

There are various disciples that have been used in giving various accounts of how the stereotypes develop. Most of the psychology could in most cases focus on an individual experience with a certain group, conflicts and communication that exist about other groups. Some scholars have also argued that the development of stereotype have over the time developed by poor parenting, conflicts and inadequate mental and emotions development. In case an aspect of stereotype has been formed, there are usually two main factors that can be used in explaining its persistence. The first concept is the cognitive effects of the various schematic processes while the second concept is the effective or the emotional aspect of the prejudice that have since rendered a logical argument in the existing stereotypes. The following therefore can be said to be some of the sources of stereotype in the mind.

Correspondence Bias

The term correspondence bias majorly refers to the given tendency of ascribing an individual's behavior to a given discipline or personality. This bias leads to underestimating the extent in which some of the factional factors tend to elicit some behaviors. Correspondence bias plays a key role in the stereotype formation.

According to most of the researchers in this field, the majority of people who usually draw dispositional references from a given behavior tend to ignore the aspect of situational constraints and more likely to develop a mind against the low-status group as those who are incompetent and their counterpart as competent.

Illusory Correlation

Stereotypes can also develop as a result of a cognitive mechanism known as illusory correlation. This is defined as an erroneous interference that describes a relationship between two events. If two statistically inters frequent events co- occurs; in most cases, the observers are likely to overestimate the frequency of the co-occurrence of these two events. The major reason attributed to this is the fact that an inherent event tends to be in a way more distinctive and salient when they are paired.

When it comes to the intergroup context, the illusory correlations in most cases have been leading people to misattribute some of the rare behaviors or some of the traits at a higher rate to some of the minority groups than it exists in theme. For example, the blacks are regarded as a minority group in the USA as the interaction with the black is considered relatively in frequent event for most of the average white American. Also, the aspect of some of the undesirable behaviors such as the issue of crime is considered to be statically less frequent than some of the desirable behaviors

Common Environment

Stereotypes can be attributed and stimulated by the same environment because the same environment helps people to react in the same way. However, the common problem with the aspect of the same environment is that it does not in most cases explain how the shared environment has the ability to exist without the common and direct stimuli.

Socialization and Upbringing

Another explanation in an attempt to explain individual is mostly socialized to adopt into the same stereotypes. Most of the psychologist tends to believe that as much as age can absorb the stereotype, they are also usually acquired in the early childhood. This acquisition is generally under the influence of parents, peers teachers, and the media.

In case the stereotype is defined by the type of social values, then the stereotype is likely to change as per the changes in the social values. This explanation illustrates that most the stereotype are rigid since they cannot be altered at will.

Various studies emerging in the midst of 1940s refuted the fact that the stereotype cannot be refuted at will. These particular studies suggested that one group's stereotype is likely to become more or less positive. However the degree of positivity depends on whether their intergroup relationship had improved or degraded. Some of the intergroup events such as world war two and the Persian Gulf conflict could be said to change the intergroup relationship. For instance, after the world war two, the black American students developed a rather more negative stereotype of different people from some nations that were considred to be the United States enemies. From this scenario, it can be said that, if there is no changes to an intergroup relationship, then it's actually true that the relevant stereotype do not change.

Intergroup Relations

As explained by some scholars, the aspect of shared stereotype are neither caused by coincidence of a common stimuli nor an aspect of socialization. However, they claim that most of the stereotypes are usually shared because majority of the members are in most cases motivated to behave in certain ways. As such, the aspect of stereotype just reflects such behaviors. In light of this, it can be easily concluded that stereotypes are consequences and not the cause of the intergroup relations. In this explanation it is assumed that when it deemed important for the people to acknowledge their out-group, they will in most cases emphasize on their differences from the out-group members and some of their similarities to the in-group members.

Effects of stereotypes

Attribution Ambiguity

Attributive ambiguity can be defined as the uncertainty that most of the members of the stereotypes groups tend to be experiencing while interpreting the cause of other behavior towards them. Most of the stereotype individuals who unusually receive feedbacks that are negative can attribute to either to the personal shortcomings. This could be as a result of lack of ability or sometimes the poor effort of the evaluator's stereotypes towards their social groups. However, the positive feedbacks can either be attributed to the personal merits or sometimes can be discounted as given sympathy or pity. As explained by most of the scholars in a given research, when the back participants were subjected to an evaluation by a white person whom they thought was aware of their race, the blacks mistrusted the feedback. They attributed the negative feedback that they would receive the evaluator's stereotype and the positive feedback was attributed to the white's evaluator's goal to appear unbiased. However, whenever the black participants were unknown to the evaluators they were seen to be more acceptance of the kind of feedback received.

The Stereotype Threat

The stereotype occurs when people are usually aware of the negative stereotype about their social group and also the existence and the experienced anxiety. It also exhibits some of the concerns that may confirm the stereotype. This does not only include academic but also the sport and the business.

Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

The act of stereotype is known to be leading various individuals to expect certain actions from members of various social groups. Some of these stereotype based expectations are usually known to be leading to own filling prophecies. This is whereby once inaccurate expectations about particular behavior of a person through the act of social interactions can prompt the individual to act in stereotyped consistent way. This way it usually confirms one erroneous expectation and thus validating the stereotypes.


The stereotype has been seen to cause discrimination in labor markets and some other domains. Also, the aspect of general stereotype tends to be paying a significant role in that affects hiring roles. It is blamed for the persistent racial profiling of some minority groups. Although racial discrimination has declined, cases of passive prejudice and discrimination persist in the society.


The stereotype has been found to be leading to self- evaluations and as such, they can easily lead to self -stereotyping. For example the common stereotype most of the women has lowered mathematical ability and tends to affect both the men and women in the evaluation of their abilities


Basow, Susan A. "Evaluation of Female Leaders: Stereotypes, Prejudice, and Discrimination." In Why Congress Needs Women: Bringing Sanity to the House and Senate: Bringing Sanity to the House and Senate, p. 85. ABC-CLIO, 2016.

Bennett, Kourtney. "Media image stereotypes and ethnic identity of young Black college women." Journal of Black Psychology, 32(4), 479-500. 2016

Dash, J. Michael. Haiti and the United States: National stereotypes and the literary imagination. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire : Macmillan Press. 2016.

Fischer, Eugen, Paul E. Engelhardt, and Aurelie Herbelot. "Intuitions and illusions: from explanation and experiment to assessment." (2015). pp. 259-292

Frangou, Sophia. Women in academic psychiatry: a mind to succeed. Switzerland: Springer. 2016.

Marquart, Franziska, and Florian Arendt. Corrupt politicians? Media priming effects on overtly expressed stereotypes toward politicians. Communications: The European Journal of Communication Research. 2015, 40, 185-197

May 10, 2023

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