14Sep 2021 by
We are beginning with a broad discussion of stereotypes before we go into more detail with specific ones, so the Gene Demby article is an accesible starting point to discuss stereotypes. After reading Demby’s piece, read about psychologist Raymond Nickerson’s study on “confirmation bias,” a psychological phenomenon referenced by Demby. This form of cognitive bias has been studied a number of times, and Nickerson’s article should give you a better idea at how people can selectively process information to reinforce information that they already know, even if that information is incorrect. Nickerson’s piece is pretty dense, so I’ve also included that separate page that should help provide points of focus for your reading.
(Link for Demby’s piece: https://www.npr.org/sections/codeswitch/2014/04/08/300279224/how-stereotypes-explain-everything-and-nothing-at-all)
Once you have completed the assigned readings, you are ready to participate in the discussion:
Reflect on what you’ve read. What are your own personal thoughts on both Demby and Nickerson? What information surprised you, or was not surprising at all? While Demby’s piece also looks at a few stereotypes and the groups associated with them, his points can be extrapolated to other groups as well. Can you think of other stereotypes that have become self-reinforcing over time? If so, what are the “sociological, economic, and historic circumstances” that have been overlooked as that stereotype became self-reinforcing?
NOTE: Do NOT copy the prompt into your response.
Link for Demby’s piece: https://www.npr.org/sections/codeswitch/2014/04/08/300279224/how-stereotypes-explain-everything-and-nothing-at-all
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