Thursday, January 21, 2010

Stereotypes vs. Subjective Recognition

Here is a little post for the weekend. We will be in Berlin to help my mother presenting her company at an international fair. Well, and because we want to see the fair too ;). I'll try to take some pictures and share them as soon as we are back and I find some time to do so. I wrote todays post around Christmas when I was visiting my mom. It's about prejudices.

Enjoy and if you want to leave me a note in the post section ;).
Ever since I started studying psychology I find myself stating facts somewhat like that:

“People who live in the eastern part of Germany tend to have a stronger in-group-behavior than people from other parts of Germany.”

During my seasonal holidays I was confronted with some well imprinted stereotypes:

  • the kids these day are all overweighted 
  • people who are beautiful have more success in live 
  • you can recognize a typical women from the eastern part of Germany easily because of the typical hair do. 
In general these three statements are all stereotypes and therefore not true. The first one can be explained easily. This statement is repeated very often in the media. Normally we tend to believe a statement when we have heard it from three different sources (more or less, the theory behind it is quite complex). Having heart it so often we tune in into the stereotype “kids are fat” and we start to recognize all the little fat girls and boys everywhere we are, in the supermarket, in the gym, at the swimming pool, at the ice cream restaurant, …..

Thus our conclusion based on our knowledge and experiences is: “yes the kids these days are fat”. If finding the truth were that easy we wouldn’t need scientists for that. Of course it’s not the truth. A statement close to the truth is “the result of a study showed that more kids were overweight than the study from 19XX recorded.”

Maybe each of the three statements above can be experienced but I seriously hope that nobody believes in them right away.

What’s your favorite stereotype?

I like number two and three ;).