The Psychology of Stereotyping

By David J. Schneider | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 3
Categories and Categorization

Surely the most basic cognitive process involved in stereotyping is categorization—or at least that's the common claim (Allport, 1954; Brewer, 1988; Fiske & Neuberg, 1990; Hamilton, 1979; Jones, 1982; Samuels, 1973; Smith, 1990; Tajfel, 1969; Taylor, 1981; Vinacke, 1957). Categorization itself is ubiquitous. Our whole language of nouns (as well as adjectives and adverbs) is built around the fact that we group animals, plants, things, events, and people into categories. Those who argue that people have limited cognitive resources with which to tame a complex environment suggest that categories are helpful in simplifying the world (e.g., Hamilton & Trolier, 1986; Taylor, 1981). To say that an animal is a dog is to encourage its dog qualities, to shellac its Rover individuality—a necessary process in a world with too many unique Rovers. However, others (e.g., Medin, 1988; Oakes & Turner, 1990) have argued that the essential cognitive problems we humans face is not too much but rather too little information, and that categories help us infer information not directly given by our senses. We know that Rover can bite and bark, even if we do not catch her in the act. Both perspectives are helpful. We group things into categories because we expect that the things within a given category will be similar in some ways and different in others from things alien to the category. This gives us predictive control over the environment, a leg up in deciding on appropriate behavior (Anderson, 1991; Ross & Murphy, 1996).

Before stereotyping can take place, an individual must be seen as a member of one or more categories to which stereotypes may apply. In that sense, categorization is a necessary condition for stereotyping to occur. But it may not be a sufficient condition. I can imagine seeing a person as Asian American or as a banker without necessarily deriving any cognitive consequences from that categorization. However, it remains an open question whether categorizations and the accompanying inferences them can be divorced so easily. Why would we develop categories unless we used generalizations about them efficiently and quickly (Schneider, 1992)?

Having said that, I should note that those who operate from a Gibsonian perspective (e.g., Zebrowitz, 1996) do not think that such categorization is always neces

-64-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Psychology of Stereotyping
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 708

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.