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Current time:0:00Total duration:6:14

Stereotypes stereotype threat and self fulfilling prophecies

Video transcript

- [Voiceover] Okay, so what do you think about people who wear glasses? I think people who wear glasses look incredibly intelligent. In fact, I think just wearing a pair of glasses can add 10 points to your IQ. What about people who live in cities? I find people who live in cities to be abrasive, to be rude, to be terribly impolite. What am I doing by making these comments? Well, what I'm doing is I am stereotyping, and what stereotyping means is that I'm attributing a certain thought, a certain cognition to a group of individuals. I'm overgeneralizing. And stereotyping doesn't just involve a pair of glasses, what people wear, or where they live, but it can also involve race, gender, culture, religion, even shoe size. So it can be pretty all-encompassing. Doesn't stereotyping have some disadvantages? Yeah, and it should be somewhat obvious. A major disadvantage is it's pretty inaccurate. On the other hand, does stereotyping have an advantage? The answer is yes. Stereotyping actually allows us to rapidly assess large amounts of social information. So in that regard, it's actually a useful tool, even though it does have its drawbacks. What I want to do now is to talk to you about a different concept, and this is again perhaps a negative characteristic of stereotyping and this is the concept of stereotype threat. Let's take two groups of students. One, the red students and two, the blue students, and these students are two equally capable group of students, and now let's make them sit an exam. How do they score? How do they test? In this situation, their scores are equal. They're the same. Both red and blue get the same score. Now let's do something else. Let's make them sit the exam, but this time let's expose the students to some negative stereotypes about the blue students not being good at exams, not being academic. But what happens now? Well, the red students score the same, but this time we notice the blue students take a hit in their performance. Their performance drops. Well, this is what we see as being a stereotype threat. This is when the exposure to a negative stereotype surrounding a task can actually cause a decrease in the performance of an individual when attempting that task. So here the stereotype actually threatens performance. Now since I've been talking about city folks, city dwellers being so rude, let's put that down here. So when we put that down here, what are we really thinking about? So this is a thought process or a cognition, and what we said before is when we think about cognitions we're actually stereotyping. So if I think city dwellers are rude, then I may say that, hmm, you know what? I don't like them, and you know what? If I don't like a group of people, I'm probably not going to spend a lot of time with them. I'm going to probably avoid them. Well, let's have a look at these two other statements. I don't like them. I'm attaching an affect, which is an emotion that can be positive or negative, to these city dwellers. So now there is an affective component to this, and when we have an affective component, we move from stereotyping to prejudice, and then moving from the affective component we start to avoid them. What happens there? When we avoid them we are actually demonstrating a behavioral component, and when we demonstrate a behavioral component, we're actually moving from prejudice to discrimination. So as we can see here, the difference between stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination is one of cognition, affect, and behavior. Well, let's go back to these city dwellers. If I avoid them, what do you think's going to happen then? Well, you know what, let's take their viewpoint. If I avoid them, maybe they're going to start thinking that I am rude. So notice that may become their cognition now, and then if they think I am rude, they might not like me, and if they don't like me, they may try to avoid me, and if they avoid me, then I may start to think that they're rude. This actually feeds back here. This positively feeds back on itself, and suddenly we have this circle that can continuously feed back on itself, and notice that they have done the same things that I did to them. The cognition, in that they think I am rude, an affective component, in that they may start to not like me, and a behavioral component, in which they start to avoid me. Well, what are we actually seeing here? Well, what we're seeing is the development of a self-fulfilling prophecy, and that's to say that our initial thought or cognition, that city dwellers are rude, becomes more true and more affirmed over time, either directly or indirectly, because of our own actions. To us, our initial stereotype that city dwellers are rude becomes more true as we perceive them to be ruder and ruder over time in response to our own behavior. This is the positive feedback that we see in a self-fulfilling prophecy.