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Fast Food For Thinking - Self-development
Fast Food For Thinking - Self-development

Video: Fast Food For Thinking - Self-development

Video: Fast Food For Thinking - Self-development
Video: How to Master Your Thinking Patterns and Habits for Self Development (Wisdom Lecture) 2023, March

“Thinks in stereotypes” - it seems that this is what they say about a person with a limited set of concepts about what is good and bad and how a “real kid” should look like. And this set is a ready-to-use product that does not need to be thought about, that is not criticized. Why do we need such food for the mind and is it not harmful to our mental health?


By filtering reality through stereotypes, we perform mental and emotional work - we confirm our knowledge about a certain object and at the same time give it our assessment.

One of the earliest researchers of stereotypes, Walter Lippmann, described four properties of these phenomena:

1. stereotypes are always simpler than reality - they describe the most complex phenomena in two or three phrases (for example, the concept of "male polygamy, developed in the process of evolution for the widest possible distribution of genes" is reduced to "all men walk to the left");

2. stereotypes get into our heads from the outside (in childhood - from adults, then - from the media and from the immediate environment), and are not developed on the basis of our own life experience; absorbing cultural stereotypes, we accept them as immutable truths, without subjecting them to criticism and comprehension;

3. all stereotypes are false, since a specific person is assigned traits that he must possess due to his belonging to a group (“speaking of love, Hindus switch to the language of music and dance”, “Americans eat only hamburgers”, “Old Believers wear beards up to the waist ");

4. stereotypes are more convincing than the reality unfolding before our eyes: when we meet a serious and business-like Indian, we shake our heads and decide that he was the only Indian in the world who does not dance or sing.

As you already understood, stereotypes always relate to a group of phenomena, and not to a specific single phenomenon. The classical formula of the stereotype can be formulated as follows: "All X have the property Y" - "all Chinese are short" (while the tallest NBA player Yao Ming, 2 m 29 cm tall is a Chinese), "rap is music for African Americans" (Marshall Bruce Mathers III, better known as Eminem, could not agree with this), "golf is a game for rich men" (32 golfers and 16 golfers were admitted to the XIX Russian golf championship, two of whom play professionally abroad), etc. e. The basis for constructing a stereotype can be nationality ("Italians cannot be faithful"), race ("Asians will never be sincere with you"), gender ("women are fools"), age ("young people are sitting on the neck of their parents "), Religion (" Islam = terror "),profession ("all politicians are liars"), etc.


The stereotype is an absolutely necessary tool for our consciousness. It helps conserve energy by transforming complex reality into a set of clear, concise judgments. Perceiving the surrounding reality through the filters of stereotypes, we find ourselves in a simple and understandable world, where each phenomenon has a label.

As Igor Kon, Doctor of Sociology, writes, “stereotypes are an integral part of everyday consciousness. Not a single person is able to independently, creatively respond to all situations he encounters in life. A stereotype that accumulates a certain standardized collective experience and is instilled in an individual in the process of learning and communicating with others, helps him navigate in life and in a certain way directs his behavior.

In addition to the global simplification of the world around us, stereotypes help us find a common language with others. Representatives of the same culture form a kind of club of interests, whose members share common beliefs. Thanks to stereotypes, two groups appear: “we” and “they”, where “we” are the carriers of all that is good and eternal, and “they” are carriers of the opposite traits. On the one hand, this property of the human psyche helps us to feel protected among our own people, on the other hand, it creates a rich breeding ground for hatred and fear. Look at the slogans calling for violence - they are always directed against a specific group! Either "gays and lesbians are corrupting young people," now "Muslims want to conquer the whole world and force women to wear hijab." Stereotypical perception puts everything negative and frightening in some other people - gypsies,communists, extremists, homosexuals, etc. And it seems that it is enough to exterminate "them", as the world peace and an era of prosperity will come.

Walter Lippmann, about whom we wrote above, compares stereotypes with crystals, in which public opinions and moods are succinctly and succinctly captured. Stereotypes are created by simply repeating the link "property - group" or "property - person". So, if in the newspapers for several weeks the name of a politician is mentioned only in combination with the word "thief" or "clever", public opinion will see a stereotypical perception of this person either as a bright mind or as dishonest. The main thing is that the information that crystallizes in the stereotype should be packed into simple, bright, emotionally colored phrases. A freshly baked "stereotype enters our minds like a computer virus, bypassing the defense system, as it" hits "our weak points. We are afraid for our children, so we believethat all Muslims are potential terrorists. We are afraid for the future, therefore we are convinced that politicians are just puppets, behind which are gray cardinals … In fact, the stereotypes that we reproduce are a literal map of our fears, anxieties and expectations. We unaccountably believe in things in which we do not feel strong, firmly on our feet. Therefore, stereotypes are the favorite weapon of propaganda tools.


How to get rid of stereotypes if you feel that they fill your life with fear and hatred, fetter your perception and subjugate your will?

1. Broaden your horizons, acquire a personal opinion about what is really important to you.

2. Work with your fears so that they do not "stick" to external objects: after all, you are not afraid of gypsies and terrorists at all, but death, change, pain, you are afraid of fear itself. You can work with fears in a psychotherapist's office or in some other way, but it is quite obvious that tolerance and openness to the world can appear where there is trust and acceptance.

3. When you see yourself as convinced of something, ask yourself, “Why is this so? What are the arguments? " If there are no more convincing arguments “this is so because it is so”, it seems that you have discovered a stable stereotype in yourself.

4. Imagine that you are explaining one of your beliefs to an alien who does not know that all Arabs are womanizers, nor that realtors are lying. You will have to find specific arguments to substantiate your positions - to give examples from your life, to reveal the moral principles on which you base your judgments. Such a technique will allow you to calculate unfounded beliefs and to review your ethical beliefs. It's good sometimes to remember what you consider worthy and suitable for yourself, and what you give up. Regularly reviewing your position in life, you get rid of stereotypes and become more flexible in your perception of the world. And this is very cool - to look with your own eyes, and not through the lenses of prejudice and prejudice.


Alena Samoshina,

psychologist, business coach

Every person has stereotypes in every area of life. On the one hand, they save us time and help us to live more comfortably in society. We know how to behave, what we can talk about, and what topics are indecent to discuss, what and how to do. That is, stereotypes give us some kind of regulation. Probably, such a life does not bring joy. But it's easier to live like that - for sure. Someone has already thought of everything for you. Or you yourself figured out how everything should be. We have created a stereotype of ourselves and follow it, observing the formal aspects of this picture.

But there is another side: under the influence of stereotypes, we often choose not the best way of acting. we act out of habit or because it is so accepted, without even asking ourselves the question of who is accepted, why and whether you personally need it. We do not see other options for behavior and angles of view on our problems. We act like robots, according to the set program, and do not think about the fact that the same stereotyped actions lead to the same result that does not suit us.


Psychologist, member of the Russian Psychotherapeutic Association Sergey Zelinsky cites such a common stereotype as "intellectual problems in professional athletes." Remember, there was an old joke about a boxer: "And I also eat in it"? Wherein:

• boxer Vladimir Klitschko - Doctor of Pedagogical Sciences;

• weightlifter Yuri Vlasov - Doctor of Technical Sciences;

• boxer Gennady Shatkov was a Doctor of Law.

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