Stereotypes Have Been Stereotyped!

Lee Jussim

in Social Perception and Social Reality

Published in print April 2012 | ISBN: 9780195366600
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199933044 | DOI:
Stereotypes Have Been Stereotyped!

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This chapter captures and summarizes some of the major themes and implications of the prior four chapters on stereotypes: It highlights the broad and general conclusions, based on the scientific, empirical evidence on stereotype accuracy, that are and are not justified; it highlights the prevalence of the “processistic fallacy”—of basing conclusions emphasizing stereotype inaccuracy on research that merely discovers (supposedly flawed) processes, but without actually assessing accuracy; it reviews evidence on the “wisdom of crowds” to explain why consensual stereotypes are not the false cultural myths they are often accused of being and, instead, are generally far more accurate than personal stereotypes; it highlights limitations to existing empirical research on stereotype (in)accuracy; it reviews the limited evidence on conditions under which high stereotype inaccuracy either has been found or is likely to be found; and it introduces the “egalitarian denial” hypothesis, which predicts that people highly motivated to be or appear egalitarian are those most likely to develop inaccurate stereotypes, because they will often underestimate real differences. This chapter also concludes that many social science perspectives on stereotypes are exaggerated, inaccurate, and rigidly resistant to change in the face of relentless disconfirming evidence and maintain their conclusions by virtue of a very selective focus on studies and findings that confirm the a priori belief in the irrationality and badness of stereotypes.

Keywords: stereotypes; accuracy; stereotype accuracy; egalitarian denial; wisdom of crowds

Chapter.  7683 words. 

Subjects: Social Psychology

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