Stereotypes in Social Categorization.
Do you recognize these phrases: all men lie and men can"t be trusted. If so then you are familiar with stereotypes that are used in everyday conversation. Stereotypes derive from a theory called social categorization, or the grouping of similar persons on the basis of common attributes (Brehm, Kassin, and Fein 133). This is similar to the way people are sorted into numerous groups based on different distinctions. At an early age, we are taught to group similar objects with one another. For example, the toys go in the toy chest or kids in a certain age group go to certain schools. Since then, we began grouping people and objects based on similar characteristics. Because in our society categorizing is emphasized, everything and everyone must fit into a specific group. .
Envision a department store where things are not itemized or gender specific. One would be completely lost if shoes were not in the shoe department or women's clothing were scattered in between the men's and children's sections. Instead, since things are grouped, it provides people with the example of how to behave, which in turn prevents chaos. This is also an example of how the theory of social characterization is developed from the theories of conformity. Every item, object and person must fit into a category, even though it might be completely unrelated. The same concept can be applied to people. .
For instance, races are often classified into specific categories on job or university applications. Sometimes only four categories such as, "White", "Hispanic", "Asian" and "Other" are given to choose from, when there are many other races that fall between those categories. White can refer to German or Russian, while Hispanic can refer to Puerto Rican, Mexican or Dominican. Then there is "Other" which can refer to numerous nationalities not accounted for in the other selections.