Explain Why We Stereotypes

1251 Words6 Pages
Why Do We Stereotype?

Stereotypes are a set of beliefs and generalisations that someone may hold about a particular group of people however, they are not necessarily truthful or reflect reality. There have been several approaches which attempt to explain why we stereotype. There are both evolutionary and social psychological explanations for why we stereotype, which I will be comparing in this essay.

Why is it important that we understand why we stereotype- help us reduce prejudice

The first theory I will be discussing is the evolutionary theory. Evolutionary theories attempt to explain stereotypes as innate processes, arguing that we stereotype because it is adaptive, allowing us to lighten our cognitive load, and consequently helping us navigate a complex social environment. Humans have evolved to become cognitive misers, choosing simple solutions to problems in order to decrease the mental effort required when meeting someone for the first time. Stereotypes allow an individual to draw on information that is already stored, thereby making information processing simpler, rather than taking in new information. This allows us to make quick
…show more content…
Therefore, the extent to which it can be used to fully explain why we stereotype is limited. The Evolution of Cultural Stereotypes (Hutchinson, J, Martin, D, 2015) offers a more complete explanation for why we stereotype by taking social factors such as increasing intergroup contact into consideration. This theory argues that the reason why we stereotype evolves over time, reflecting changes in cultural beliefs. This is evident in modern day society which is becoming increasingly diverse, resulting in a number of different cultures interacting with another. Consequently, individuals are able to reject current stereotypes (Allport 1954 as cited in, Hutchinson, J, Martin, D, 2015) and even create their

More about Explain Why We Stereotypes

Open Document