Processes Related to Stereotypes (PSY)

by Tarry Ahuja, PhD

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    00:00 Okay, let’s get into looking at two different aspects of stereotypes.

    00:06 We’ve now mentioned stereotypes and what they actually mean.

    00:10 Or we’re going to get into two different factors and how they impact stereotypes.

    00:15 So the first being, self-fulfilling prophecy, as also known as the Pygmalion effect.

    00:21 And what we’re talking about here is when specific stereotypes lead to behaviors that affirm the original stereotype or belief.

    00:29 What are we saying? We are saying that you might actually stereotype somebody.

    00:33 And that individual grasps the stereotype or hears what you’re saying and actually slowly begins to morph into that actual stereotype.

    00:44 So, that’s the name self-fulfilling prophecy.

    00:47 You are adding that label. That individual might not actually deserve that label.

    00:52 But over time actually adapt their behaviors to start to express that actual stereotype.

    00:59 So individuals may themselves be impacted in this way by stereotypes others actually have.

    01:05 And we’ll go into a couple of examples. Look at three different scenarios.

    01:08 The first, is in the classroom.

    01:11 And this was a some really cool work done by Rosenthal and Jacobson.

    01:16 And what they did was, they have a scenario in the high school environment.

    01:20 And so that had a high school teacher and they told the different students that the whole bunch of them are very, very clever. Saying you guys are very, very good, very smart.

    01:29 And then they administered a test.

    01:32 And they had two cohorts or two groups.

    01:35 So the first group was told that they were smart.

    01:38 And then they looked at group who were told nothing.

    01:42 And they wrote the same test and did the exact same things.

    01:45 And what they found was, those that were told that you are very clever, you’re very smart actually did better on the exam.

    01:51 So giving on that stereotype of like, you guys are the bright ones.

    01:55 You guys are very, very clever, that actually resonates with them.

    01:59 And they start to adapt their behavior.

    02:01 Now, it’s a fairly convoluted process in terms of what’s happening behind the scenes.

    02:05 But if you want to simplify, we can say that stereotype is becoming true because of the change and the beliefs of the individual.

    02:13 Another scenario is in the workplace.

    02:16 This is an example of the two way stereotype.

    02:19 So, from the perspective of the boss, the boss might say to his employee, “You know, I’m expecting big things from you.

    02:26 You had a great start of the year and you’re doing fantastic.

    02:29 And I want you to keep that momentum going. And keep your learning up. You're doing great.

    02:33 Well that employee in their mind says he believes that the boss has a stereotype because the boss has said to him that I think you’re doing very well. You’re very bright.

    02:43 This employee now thinks "I am bright" and starts to actually fulfill that prophecy by saying, I am going to work hard. I’m going to continue to do these extracurricular learnings so that I can improve myself at work.

    02:55 And thinking of the boss will say, "You are doing great." Now, vice versa, the employee thinking about his boss saying, “You know what my boss is really, really good. He gives me a positive feedback.

    03:06 I think he is a pretty good boss.

    03:08 And now, all of a sudden, the boss sees that you’re actually performing very well.

    03:12 And you are fulfilling your stereotype of being bright and taking these extra learnings.

    03:17 And all of a sudden, he sees you and that you’re fulfilling your prophesy as well.

    03:22 So it’s kind of a circular motion there.

    03:24 Now, here is another situation. This one is probably much more common and relatable to you.

    03:31 And that’s being in a social setting.

    03:33 This is the stereotype that we actually have individuals.

    03:35 And we through our actions make them come true.

    03:39 So say for example, you say, “I don’t like lawyers. I think they’re very rude.” Now, is that an accurate stereotype? Maybe in some cases but let’s say no.

    03:50 So, all lawyers are amazing and super nice.

    03:53 But you have this stereotype and you’ve expressed this stereotype that lawyers are rude.

    03:57 Now, as a result you might adapt your behavior and say, “Well, you know what because I feel like they're rude. I don’t want actually, I don’t want to talk to them.

    04:06 and I don’t want to interact with them.

    04:07 And now, you’ve distanced yourself and you have no interaction with lawyers.

    04:11 Now a lawyer might actually pick up on this and say, “You know what, that person really hasn’t interacted with me.

    04:18 And I don’t think I like them. I think they’re quite rude.

    04:21 And so, now they don’t interact with you.

    04:23 And now, if you go in that circular motion, you think of the fact you started by saying, “I think lawyers are rude.” You’ve adapted your behavior. As a result, They have adapted their views and their behavior. And that’s a self-fulfilling prophecy, in a circular motion again.

    04:38 So now, they are not talking to you. And that confirms your original stereotype of, Oh,they are rude.

    04:44 Look he’s not even talking to me right now. Okay.

    04:46 So that whole process of a stereotype is delivered, And then you fill in that stereotype and eventually start to express those behaviors.

    04:54 Another example is something called Stereotype threat.

    04:58 And a stereotype threat refers to a self-fulfilling fear that one is at risk of confirming negative stereotypes.

    05:05 So again, let’s break this down.

    05:06 So you might have a stereotype.

    05:09 And you as an individual are aware of that stereotype.

    05:12 And you’re now threatened by the idea of actually allowing that stereotype to come true.

    05:17 Let’s walk through an example.

    05:19 Here’s looking at some really neat experiments that looked at both gender and function.

    05:26 And we took a cohort of young girls writing a math test.

    05:31 And what they did was, they had two scenarios.

    05:34 They could either say nothing.

    05:36 And so they were not preconditioned. There was no stereotype. And then there was one that was delivered.

    05:40 And the delivery was that women tend to do poorer in math than men.

    05:45 And then they were administered the test, the math test.

    05:48 And there were two groups.

    05:51 And in one group it was an all-female group. There were no men around.

    05:54 And so they did the test.

    05:56 And then there was another group where they now introduced men into the mix.

    06:00 So just being in the presence of a male, it actually initiated that stereotype and it started to express itself.

    06:09 The individual thought of it.

    06:10 And they actually, when you compare the results of the females who were an all-female group versus a mixed group.

    06:18 The women that were away from the men actually did better than the women who were sitting in proximity to men.

    06:25 So just being around the guys impacted their performance.

    06:28 And it cause a lower performance.

    06:31 And so we call that phenomena a stereotype threat.

    About the Lecture

    The lecture Processes Related to Stereotypes (PSY) by Tarry Ahuja, PhD is from the course Social Thinking.

    Included Quiz Questions

    1. They can have a positive or a negative effect on the person being stereotyped.
    2. Individuals but not groups are stereotyped.
    3. Stereotypes are like instincts, in the sense that a person is born with them.
    4. They never involve achievements in school or at work.
    5. Children are prone to forming stereotypes but this behavior goes away in adulthood.
    1. Stereotype threat
    2. Stereotype fear
    3. Stereotype panic
    4. Stereotype distress
    5. Stereotype dilemma
    1. Self-fulfilling prophecy
    2. Self-satisfaction prophecy
    3. Self-assurance prophecy
    4. Self-rewarding prophecy
    5. Self-pleasing prophecy

    Author of lecture Processes Related to Stereotypes (PSY)

     Tarry Ahuja, PhD

    Tarry Ahuja, PhD

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