The Science of Stereotyping
Also, from EurekAlert! comes news of a study indicating that "white Americans' stereotypes of black Americans... may have little to do with race" but rather "reflect beliefs about how people from different environments, or 'ecologies,' are likely to think and behave" — Researchers find that in race stereotypes, issues are not so black and white. An exerpt:
- In "Ecology-driven stereotypes override race stereotypes," published in the early online edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, ASU doctoral students Keelah Williams and Oliver Sng, together with Steven Neuberg, an ASU Foundation Professor of Psychology, conducted a series of five studies examining the stereotypes people hold about individuals who live in resource-poor and unpredictable ('desperate') environments as compared to those who live in resource-sufficient and predictable ('hopeful') environments.
Research shows that desperate and hopeful environments tend to shape the behavior of those living within them by altering the costs and benefits of different behavioral strategies. Desperate ecologies tend to reward 'faster,' present-focused behaviors whereas hopeful ecologies tend to reward 'slower,' future-oriented behaviors.
Because ecology shapes behavior, the authors argue, social perceivers are likely to use cues to another's ecology, or environment they come from, to make predictions about how that person is likely to think and behave. Indeed, research participants stereotyped those from desperate environments as relatively faster -- as more impulsive, sexually promiscuous, likely to engage in opportunistic behavior and as less invested in their education and children, than individuals from hopeful ecologies.
Ignoring (in reality legislating ignorance of) the above-mentioned concepts of stereotyping, demographics, individuals, ecologies, time preference, etc., leads to pretty disastrous results, as this 2008 piece from the liberal WaPo indicated — How HUD Mortgage Policy Fed The Crisis.