Det här inlägget tar upp de helt grundlösa antaganden som ofta görs om stereotyper.
Forskningen har nämligen tvärtemot vad man vanligen får höra i massmedia visat att stereotyper ofta stämmer. Redan 1995 så intresserade sig tre forskare för ämnet stereotyper.
Forskargruppen bestod av Lee J. Jussim, Clark R. McCauley, och Yueh-Ting Lee. Tillsammans skrev de avhandlingen: Stereotype Accuracy: Toward appreciating group differences. Så här kommenterade de sitt arbete.
”First, research on any type of accuracy in social perception was all but unthinkable until the 1980s. Theoretically, social psychology has been and continues to be dominated by a focus on social cognition that emphasizes error and bias; research finding evidence of accuracy runs against the theoretical zeitgeist.”
”As Thomas Kuhn might have predicted, this is probably one of the major sources of resistance to accuracy research. Second, the idea that stereotypes may sometimes have some degree of accuracy is apparently anathema to many social scientists and laypeople. Those who document accuracy run the risk of being seen as racists, sexists, or worse.”
Beträffande forskningens resultat så konstaterades följande under arbetets gång:
”The scientific evidence is that the primary function of stereotypes is what researchers very prettily call ”the reality function”. That is, stereotypes are useful tools for dealing with the world. Confronted with a snake or a faun, our immediate behavior is determined by generalized beliefs—stereotypes—about snakes and fauns. Stereotypes are, in fact, merely one aspect of the mind’s ability to make generalizations, without which science and mathematics, not to mention much of everyday life, would be impossible. Researcher Clark R. McCauley:”