Emotional Intelligence Social

Do you know the differences between stereotype and prejudice?

estereotipos y prejuicios

The concepts stereotype and prejudice are often confused with assiduity. However, from social psychology are concepts with different nuances. Generally, both concepts are used to define negative attitudes that in the end are the result of social inequalities or discriminatory processes. But do you really know the difference between stereotype and prejudice? Let’s try to explain it in a simple way with some examples.

What is a stereotype?

We can define stereotype as that consensus of opinion regarding the characteristics (traits, behaviors, etc.) attributed to a group. That is, stereotypes are organized beliefs or ideas about the characteristics associated with different social groups, such as the physical aspect, interests, occupations, ethnicities, etc. They are images, ideas, opinions or interpretations about the elements of a group in a simplified way.

But are all the interpretations we make always negative interpretations? No. A stereotype can be positive, negative or even neutral. For example, believing that all German tourists go in flip-flops and socks can have a negative or positive interpretation depending on the value each one makes on that characteristic of the group. Categorizing a person as a “geek” simply because he or she likes computers or videogames is another example of a simplified idea that can be taken negatively or positively, depending on the context. A stereotype that could be categorized as positive might be, for example, to believe that all Japanese are disciplined. However, and unfortunately, they often highlight or transcend more negative stereotypes, such as the false belief that all blond women are silly. And is that many times stereotypes are generated by cognitive distortions of reality.

Why do we create stereotypes?

Stereotypes, according to Allport (1954), perform categorization functions (simplification of the stimulating universe); Defense of values ​​(they maintain positive distinctiveness for the endogroup, especially when the status quo can be brought to light) and maintaining the status quo (facilitates control of the dominant ideology in context).

>> Related Article: How Cognitive Biases Affect Our Daily Decisions

What is a prejudice?

Well, a prejudice is an attitude, usually of rejection, towards the members of a group. It is an unjustified reaction to a person originated by the person’s belonging to a particular social group. Prejudices are the positive and negative feelings and emotions you have about a social group and its members.

For example, when a person reacts negatively when he sees a woman parking badly, or when a person grabs his bag with force so that they do not steal it when a person of color enters the subway. Obviously, both beliefs are erroneous, stereotyped, and become negative prejudices when used emotionally or emotionally (frustration in the car, defense in the subway). If there was no such reaction, that attitude, there would be only the stereotype.

As with stereotypes, not all prejudices are negative. There are positive biases, for example when you pay more attention or you pay more attention to a person in a suit, as if the suit gives the person good qualities. There may even be hidden prejudices, such as unconscious racism (see video).

Difference between stereotype and prejudice.

Therefore, what sets the stereotype apart from prejudice is the attitude shown, the reaction. A stereotype (positive or negative) is a justified opinion of cognitive component and the component of prejudice would be affective and irrational and unfair, is a negative attitude (or positive if it is the case). So, we could say that a stereotype could trigger a prejudiced attitude (negative or positive).

>> Related article: Unconscious racism [VIDEO].

To summarize, an example, the stereotype that women are the best candidates to perform secretarial duties could trigger a negative prejudice towards a good male candidate, discarding the selection process for the simple fact of being male, or Either the coworkers themselves might have negative prejudicial attitudes toward a man for performing “women’s” work.

Another example of a stereotype is the idea that all politicians are corrupt, negative prejudice would occur when despite not knowing whether those in your city are or not, not to vote as a negative attitude before the group of politicians.

There are millions of examples of prejudices and stereotypes. Do you know how to identify them better? Would you be able to put examples of stereotype and prejudice?

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References:

Allport, G. W. (1954). The nature of prejudice. Reading: Addison-Wesley. 

Morales, J.F., Huici. C. (2003). Psicología Social. Madrid: UNED

Sobre el autor

Iván Pico

Graduado en Psicología (UNED). Nº Colegiado G-5480. Diplomado en Ciencias Empresariales (USC). Máster en Psicología del Trabajo y las Organizaciones. (INESEM). Máster Universitario Oficial en Orientación Profesional (UNED). Posgrado en Neuromarketing (Universidad Camilo José Cela). Técnico Deportivo Nivel II, fútbol sala (RFEF). Especialista en Psicología Aplicada al Deporte. Etc, etc...
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  • Un estereotipo podría ser que las mujeres no pueden violar, el prejuicio se encontraría en la reacción de las personas que saben de noticias en que mujeres sí han violado, teniendo como reacción la broma (o bien el repudio)

  • Llegue aquí porque estaba viendo una serie y me tope con un comentario que decía que un capitulo era discriminatorio; hoy pasa mucho en televisión que se reclama que algo discrimina ha un cierto grupo, aunque en muchas ocasiones se trata del uso de estereotipos; sin embargo, aun leyendo tu articulo no sabría cuando diferenciar que algo es un estereotipo a cuando fuese una discriminación. ¿Cual seria la diferencia (en una serie x en tv) entre una escena de estereotipo y una escena que fuese discriminatoria?

    • Hola Valentina.

      Para que se produjese una discriminación debe existir una acción negativa. Es decir, el estereotipo es la imagen mental (creencia) que se realiza y la discriminación es la conducta negativa en relación a ese pensamiento. En el ejemplo que dices de una escena, un estereotipo sería creer que todos los actores de artes marciales son de origen oriental (chinos, japoneses…), la discriminación sería si para realizar esa escena descartan a todos los actores americanos por pensar que no serán buenos en las artes marciales. Se produce una caracterización del personaje por estereotipo, discriminando a otras opciones que podrían ser incluso mejores.

      No sé si me he explicado. Espero que sí 🙂

      Un saludo y gracias por el comentario.

      Iván Pico
      Psicólogo online

      • Hola Iván.

        Sí, me aclaro bastante la idea. Me puse a investigar y la verdad se logra notar la diferencia; como en los cortos animados de las épocas de guerra, donde solían retratar a los del grupo enemigo con bastantes estereotipos, pero a un punto de mostrarlos como los malos o como los tontos (dependiendo del sentido humorístico del show). En cambio, en escenas que usan estereotipos los personajes reaccionan de maneras diversas a estos, dando retratos de los personajes desde distintos puntos.

        Un saludos y muchas gracias por responder 🙂