Definition: A stereotype is “…a fixed, over generalised belief about a particular group or class of people.” (Cardwell, 1996). We can stereotype people on visible cues such as physical shape and race or in less visible cues such as sexual orientation, job and religion. Advantages of stereotyping are; helpful when making judgements, enables us to remember information about other people, enables us to respond appropriately when meeting people for the first time, enables us to respond rapidly to situations because we may have had a similar experience before, they make us feel part of a group because people in said group share the same opinion/views as us (enables us to feel a sense of belonging). Disadvantages of stereotyping are; they can stop us from seeing the real person when meeting someone for the first time which causes us to make mistakes and assumptions about them, most stereotypes promote harmful images, once a stereotype is learnt by a child it is difficult to overcome, it makes us ignore differences between individuals, stereotyping usually leads to prejudice and discrimination.
William and Best Study
Aim: To investigate sex stereotyping in 30 countries across the world. Method: They gave to people in the 30 countries, 300 characteristics to attribute to male and female or both. Results: Findings show the same sex stereotyping of male and females across the 30 countries: Female: emotional, understanding, nurturing, and warm.
Male: reckless, hard-headed, determined.
Conclusion: Cross-cultural study suggests commonly held stereotypes of male and female. Evaluation: There is a lack of ecological validity as the results cannot be generalised to the entire population, and male and female are not always described as above. The study is quite old and stereotypes are most likely different at present, so the results would not be accurate for recent studies/experiments.