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Implicit Personality Theory And Stereotypes Essay

2058 words - 8 pages

According to Baron, Byrne & Suls in their book Attitudes: Evaluating the social world. (1989) they defined the term Social Psychology as “the scientific field that seeks to understand the nature and causes of individual behavior in social situations”. (p. 6). There are many concepts of social perception, two of these that will be looked at in this essay are Implicit Personality Theory and stereotypes. Implicit personality theory describes the beliefs, biases and assumptions, that an individual uses when he or she forms impressions on a stranger based on limited information. The way we form impressions and the different conclusions we make about other people based upon our individual impressions is also part of this theory. One of the first people to investigate how people form impressions was Solomon Asch in the 1940’s in his experiment ‘Forming Impressions of Personality' he was interested in how people form impressions and if certain traits affected peoples impressions. A good example of Implicit personality theory is if someone who is considered unpredictable they may be considered dangerous. The second Concept of Social Psychology that will be considered is stereotypes. Cardwell (1996) described stereotypes as “...A fixed, over generalized belief about a particular group or class of people.” may have beliefs and thoughts on different social groups and individual people and how they should act, and believe that all people in that group conform and have the same characteristics as the rest. By using stereotypes, it helps us simplify how we think of the social world as having a stereotype reduces our thinking process when we meet new people. An example of stereotyping is saying that all French people wear berets and have garlic and onions hanging around their neck, this is a type of group stereotyping, implying that all French people wear berets and have garlic and onions around their neck. An example of racial stereotyping is saying “All Black people are criminals”. This is a racial stereotype as you are implying that all black people commit an offense which is not the case. By stereotyping people, it can lead to social categorization which can be a source of prejudice (the “them” and “Us” mentality).
We as people do not already have stereotypes and prejudices in our mind when we are born, we develop these stereotypes and prejudices over time and these are often influenced by who we surround ourselves with as well as our surroundings. According to the book ‘Psychology The science of mind and behaviour‘ by Nigel Holt et al, social cognition can be defined as ‘the social side of our mental processes and how people make sense of themselves and others around them’. Social cognition is important as it helps us apply and store information about other people and social situations. Social cognition is important because it helps us apply and store information about other people and social situations. The way we think about others is an important...

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