VII. Stereotyping

A. Walter Lippman:Stereotyping is categorizing people into groups and then evaluating them on information in our schemata regarding this group. When stereotyping we make blanket assumptions about people.

B.Stereotyping: (a) streamlines the perception process for a quick impression; (b) because of blanket assumptions, stereotypes are often wrong; (c) Stereotyping may have positive influences on communication: creates opportunities for discussing issues; (d) Stereotyping is impossible to avoid because we form categories habitually, and are socialized to do it; (e) We believe that our assumptions are valid, even we see evidence to the contrary; then we seek out information that supports VII. Stereotyping our belief.

C. Stereotypes are eliminated by (a) challenging your assumptions; (b) learning more about the groups; (c) assessing similarities and differences; (d) recognizing that people are different, (e) belonging to different groups.

DISCUSSION STARTER 8:Think of an instance in which information posted by someone online (photos, profiles, blogs) caused you to perceive them stereotypically. How did this affect your overall impression of him or her? Your communication with the person? What stereotypes might others form of you, based

on your online postings?

VIII. Improving Perceptions

  1. Offering Empathy

Edward Bradford Titchener: Empathyis the ability to feel into other people’s VII. Stereotyping thoughts and emotions. Empathy is subdivided into two separate processes: perspective-taking(seeing someone’s perspective without understanding their emotions) and empathic concern (becoming aware of feelings, feeling compassionate).

To offer empathy: (a) show genuine interest in the other person’s viewpoint; (b) disclose what you feel about their feelings; (c) share your own emotions about the situations; (d) avoid “I know how it feels.”

  1. Checking Perceptions

    Check your punctuation:find who/what started or ended some event.

    Check your knowledge:learn more about the situation.

    Check your attributions:study various perspectives on the issue;

    Check your perceptual influences:analyze cultural, gender VII. Stereotyping and personality stereotypes that you hold;

    Check your impressions:study your Gestalts, corresponding biases, and new information.

  2. Practicing Responsible Perceptions:(a) what do you select as focus of your attention? (b) what attributions do you make? (c) Do you cling to wrong impressions? (d) Do you check your perceptions? (e) Do you correct your impressions? (f) Do you exercise empathy? (g) Do you honor their perceptions? (h) Do you emotionally reach out? (i) Do you communicate perspective-taking and empathic concern?


I. Opening Story: Starting the Discussion

A. Michael’s Instructions:While not obligatory for reading, the opening VII. Stereotyping story in each chapter sets the mood for the rest of the reading. Stephen chooses stories that relate to several concepts in the chapter and talks about these concepts in general terms.

B. Read the opening storyand identify three concepts from the chapter that characterize the communication process in the situation.

C. Then:(a) think of similar examples in your life, (b) remember the actions that the hero of the story, you, and other people around you took when they faced the situation; (c) think of the ways these actions influenced everyone involved; (d) suggest the ways which your na VII. Stereotypingïve knowledge of communication offered you as remedies for whatever did not work in communication in that particular instance; (e) discuss how your scientific knowledgeof communication changes your perception, and list three things that you would do now if you faced a similar situation in the future

D. An essay on the opening story can be used as an extra credit opportunity.If you would like to get more points, write a six-paragraph essay answering the questions above in good paragraphs (1 opening sentence, 2-3 main idea sentences, 1 summary and transition sentence). Make note that although this assignment is long and fairly VII. Stereotyping difficult, you will be given only 10 points for it. The reason for it is that the extra credit points must be extra hard to get.

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