Social stereotypes: the positive and negative aspects

Social stereotypes: the positive and negative aspects

Every day of our lives we listen to the people around, when it is important for their views on a particular issue. With us, they share their emotions, feelings and experiences, or simply reply to our questions. And while we often believe the words of others, while recognizing that their judgments are subjective. Similarly, we are trying to extract information from newspapers and magazines, books and television programs. And it was so born stereotypes: a certain level of knowledge is superimposed emotional relationship of man to any object or phenomenon. And with social stereotypes, which are known by the media, family, friends, religion, we begin to deal with the childhood.

In psychology, social stereotypes are seen as stable and emotive ideas within a group of people who together constitute the human understanding of the world. In other words, we have accepted stereotypes - is a kind of picture of the world, which consists of our interests, desires, habits. According to I. S. Cohn, "stereotipizirovanie is that complicated individual phenomenon is brought mechanically under simple formula or an image, which characterizes a class of phenomena."

Everything that surrounds man could not help comparing his inner ideals. That is why stereotypes can be positively or negatively colored, for example, "all children - clean heart" and "a woman stupid men", respectively. All stereotypes reflect the peculiarities of perception and simplify the process of understanding reality individuals. But the reality in most cases is not objective, because the stereotype - it is a biased opinion. Then on what basis we can conclude that the stereotype is a positive thing or not? For a long time the stereotypes were considered negative social phenomenon, but today in the analysis takes into account not only their negative, but also positive features and effects. The reason for this lies in the fact that the Western and domestic researchers have identified important roles stereotypes, which are implemented both in the group and individual levels. These include the identification of groups, formation and maintenance of their ideologies, and, of course, simplification of thinking. You have to understand that the essence of the stereotype - positive or negative - depends on the situation, because under certain conditions the stereotype may be true, while others - does not correspond to reality. Stereotypes appear under the influence of certain circumstances that at any time can change, and then prejudice will continue to exist for many years.

On the one hand, stereotypes often help a person to make a choice or take a necessary decision for him, not putting any extra effort. Each person is confident in today's society is that you have to respect their elders, to protect the young, to help others. Such stereotypes have become the norms of human behavior in society, rules, and nobody thinks about why educated people will behave this way and not otherwise. But this is not the only manifestation of the good side of stereotypes. It can be quite difficult to give an adequate assessment of that event or social phenomenon, about which there is no relevant information. Consistent with this, when it is not possible based on their personal beliefs, people often resort to stereotypes already entrenched in the society, the use of which does not require the adoption of individual decisions and as it removes responsibility from the individual. It turns out that in the case of its truth stereotypes sometimes "save" us: accelerating the processes of learning, they form the basis of the opinion formed in humans, helping to predict the line behavior of other people. On the other hand, the social stereotype, based on false knowledge, imposes a certain pattern of behavior, which from the outset may be incorrect. We begin involuntarily to avoid public attention, when we are constantly being told: "Do not stand out, you need to be like everyone else!" And the words "You will no longer be respected for it" and does sound threatening. So, through stereotypes, you can enter an individual or group of people fooled, manipulated, which may entail as a personal failure and social differences and conflicts, fear, contempt, discomfort. False stereotypes not only help to determine the correct orientation of life, but also to set up a man hostile to other people: their race, nationality, appearance or lifestyle. Stereotypes do not reveal the similarities between groups of people and focus on their differences, so that people are divided into "bad" and "good", "us" and others. "

It turns out that the influence of stereotypes on the person can be extremely negative, and in fact most of them contain is false knowledge and become prejudices. Suffice it to recall such stereotypes as "an intelligent woman can not be happy in my personal life," "all the French arrogant and unintelligible" or "all children are good when sleeping teeth up against the wall." Mentioned judgments is easy to believe, however, they force us to misconceptions about different groups of people.

For example, gender stereotypes already so firmly anchored in people's minds, that today men and women prescribe certain social roles, which makes it virtually impossible equality of the sexes. Almost on every man to hear that women can not drive, poorly versed in the art, politics, and the only thing they do well - a leading farming and raising children. And very few people at the same time thinks that women have and truckers, and programmers, and politicians, and men are often well prepared and involved children. We can recall another stereotype, "women need from men only money." Guided by this social stereotype, some men perceive women is illusory, that is, they do not try to understand what really wants their loved one. They do not tell them warm and tender words, do not show care, preferring to it all the material things as a manifestation of their feelings. The words "I love you" or "sorry" quite often replaced with gifts. But gold and diamonds - this is not only what women want. And sooner or later, any woman can get tired of the relationship and to stop them, despite the many gifts from the man. It turns out, such a social stereotype can have a very detrimental effect: when a certain person "tried on" a way of disappearing the opportunity to see it personality, understand the desires and needs of a person, and therefore, this stereotype does not build a relationship or save them. All of the above leads to the conclusion that social stereotypes play in modern life an important role. Can result in an infinite number of examples of stereotypes influence on modern man. However, it is impossible to give an unambiguous assessment of this phenomenon. As a positive development, the true stereotype structures a certain knowledge, which can be an important and sometimes even necessary, in order to deal with the situation. False stereotypes also directing our behavior is largely programmed us to the destruction of even not good communication, mutual understanding with other people. And while society will never be able to get rid of all the stereotypes and prejudices, as people are not physically able each time to carefully consider and weigh each decision or action. The negative impact can only attenuate stereotypes acquired experience and knowledge digestible. If a person tries to check received outside information about anything, but do not believe everything you hear or read in the same moment, and does not unfounded conclusions, he may well restrict this effect and, therefore, to transform stereotypes positive for myself the phenomenon, taking from contained in their body of knowledge specific utility.


1. Ageev VS Psychological study of social stereotypes // Questions of psychology. - 1996. - № 1. 95c.

2. Kon "Sociology of youth" In the book .: "Concise Dictionary of Sociology" - M. - 1988. - 164s.