• Question: how and what makes our mind stereotype people?

    Asked by cc2107 to David, Jonathan, Pete, Sam on 5 Jul 2012.
    • Photo: Pete Etchells

      Pete Etchells answered on 5 Jul 2012:

      Good question! Stereotypes can, in general, be a useful thing for us to use – it helps us to save time and energy by grouping things or people together into groups that have some sort of common connection. They help us to systematically categorise things so that they can be responded to quickly and efficiently at a later date. The downside to have stereotypes though, is that once they’re formed, it can be difficult to accept new incoming information about a person within one of those groups that does not match up to your stereotyped image. This can mean that, over time, the stereotype itself can become incorrect (because people and groups change and adapt all the time). Of course, stereotypes can also be incorrect in the first place! So while it might be handy to have some, it’s also good to be able to change your opinion and beliefs about people as you get new information about them.