Sociology Index


A given social stereotype may or may not have much basis in fact. Stereotypes can sometimes be a relatively value-neutral categorization of behavior as in the view that most parents have a tendency to nag their children. The term 'stereotype' derives from the printing process and refers to a plate made by taking a cast or mold of a surface.

A stereotype then is anything which lacks individual marks or identifiers, and instead appears as though made from a cast. Stereotypes are ideas that some individuals hold about members of particular groups, based solely on membership in that group. They tend to be in a negative or prejudicial sense and are frequently used to justify certain discriminatory behaviors.

In sociology the stereotype (the plate or cast) is always a social construction of reality which may have some basis in reality but is a gross generalization like the female stereotype who like romance novels. To stereotype is to apply these casts, or gross generalization, to people or situations rather than seeing the individual variation.

When unjustified stereotypes are applied to groups, the result is often negative. Negative stereotyping is the main feature in prejudice, as in racism and sexism. Stereotype threat refers to being at risk of confirming, as self-characteristic, a negative stereotype about one's group (Steele & Aronson, 1995).

Stereotypes as Explanations : The Formation of Meaningful Beliefs about Social Groups Book by Craig McGarty, Vincent Y. Yzerbyt, Russell Spears (Editors)
Stereotyping is one of the most important issues in social psychology, but little is known about how and why stereotypes form. This book explores the process of stereotype formation; the way people develop impressions and view social groups. The authors of this study propose that stereotypes form to explain aspects of social groups and; in particular; to explain relationships between groups.
Stereotyping is one of the biggest single issues in social psychology, but relatively little is known about how and why stereotypes form. Conventional approaches to stereotyping assume that stereotypes are based on erroneous and distorted processes. According to the authors stereotypes form in order to explain aspects of social groups and in particular to explain relationships between groups.

Black Criminal Stereotypes and Racial Profiling
Kelly Welch, Villanova University, Pennsylvania
Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice, Vol. 23, No. 3, 276-288 (2007).
The racial stereotyping of criminals has been an enduring and unfortunate feature of American culture. However, following the civil rights movement, the linkage between Blacks and crime was galvanized. The stereotyping of Blacks as criminals is so pervasive throughout society that "criminal predator" is used as a euphemism for "young Black male." This common stereotype has erroneously served as a subtle rationale for the unofficial policy and practice of racial profiling by criminal justice practitioners. This article details the theoretical elements contributing to the development of Black criminal typification to understand how this has been used to justify racial profiling.

Stereotype threat and the intellectual test performance of African Americans.
Steele CM, Aronson J.
Department of Psychology, Stanford University, California 94305, USA.
J Pers Soc Psychol. 1995 Nov;69(5):797-811.
Stereotype threat is being at risk of confirming, as self-characteristic, a negative stereotype about one's group. Studies 1 and 2 varied the stereotype vulnerability of Black participants taking a difficult verbal test by varying whether or not their performance was ostensibly diagnostic of ability, and thus, whether or not they were at risk of fulfilling the racial stereotype about their intellectual ability. Reflecting the pressure of this vulnerability, Blacks underperformed in relation to Whites in the ability-diagnostic condition but not in the nondiagnostic condition (with Scholastic Aptitude Tests controlled). Study 3 validated that ability-diagnosticity cognitively activated the racial stereotype in these participants and motivated them not to conform to it, or to be judged by it. Study 4 showed that mere salience of the stereotype could impair Blacks' performance even when the test was not ability diagnostic. The role of stereotype vulnerability in the standardized test performance of ability-stigmatized groups is discussed.

Developing a New Gender Roles Stereotype Index for Television Advertising: Coding Stereotypical and Reverse-Stereotypical Portrayals
Kim, Kwangok. and Lowry, Dennis
Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Communication Association
Abstract: The mass media continue to reinforce stereotypical gender roles. Few studies have conducted content analyses that effectively measure stereotypes in advertising other than using nominal level data. Accordingly, this study was designed to develop a new “Stereotype Index,” measuring at the ordinal level the extent to which an advertisement uses stereotypical images. The index was developed based upon a probability sample of prime-time U.S. television commercials during a sweeps month (November 4-December 1, 2004). The final sample included 845 advertisements and 1,062 central figures. Each advertisement received positive points for the use of stereotypes and negative points for the use of reverse- stereotypes in its content based on the Stereotype Index. The mean of each variable could subsequently be compared directly using parametric statistics rather than traditional chi-square analysis. Differences between nominal (categorical) and ordinal level data were examined. The new Stereotype Index enables researchers to make precise statistical comparisons among studies cross-culturally and longitudinally, something not possible before. Since science often is advanced by detecting and reporting changes in variables, not just static scores, this is an important contribution of the new Stereotype Index.