Formation of Stereotypes

Jillian Gilmour


The author of this paper explores the implications of automatic stereotyping in relation to social cognition drawing from the pre-existing literature. The current review is focused on how stereotypes are constructed, activated, maintained, and what cognitive tools are needed in order to change them. The construction of stereotypes is looked at in respect to the stereotype validity model, facial features, the mass media, and the influence society has on perpetuating stereotypes on a global scale. The neural correlates involved in the activation of stereotypes are discussed, including the amygdala, prefrontal cortex, posterior cingulate, and anterior temporal cortex. The current review also includes ways in which cognitive processing can be slowed down to prevent the perpetuation of negative prejudices. Based on the review, future work is still required in the areas of longitudinal and diary studies that look into the long term consequences of the rapid activation and application of stereotypes.


stereotyping, prejudice, social cognition, neural correlates, stereotype validity model, facial features, mass media, society


Arendt, F. (2013). Dose-dependent media priming effects of stereotypic newspaper articles on implicit and explicit stereotypes. Journal of Communication, 63(5), 830-851. doi:10.1111/jcom.12056

Contreras, J. M., Banaji, M. R., & Mitchell, J. P. (2012). Dissociable neural correlates of stereotypes and other forms of semantic knowledge. Social Cognitive & Affective Neuroscience, 7(7), 764-770. Retrieved from

Forbes, C. E., Cox, C. L., Schmader, T., & Ryan, L. (2012). Negative stereotype activation alters interaction between neural correlates of arousal, inhibition and cognitive control. Social Cognitive & Affective Neuroscience, 7(7), 771-781. Retrieved from

Hunzaker, M. B. F. (2014). Making sense of misfortune: Cultural schemas, victim redefinition, and the perpetuation of stereotypes. Social Psychology Quarterly, 77(2), 166-184. doi:10.1177/0190272514521219

Krieglmeyer, R., & Sherman, J. W. (2012). Disentangling stereotype activation and stereotype application in the stereotype misperception task. Journal of Personality & Social Psychology, 103(2), 205-224. doi:10.1037/a0028764

Le Pelley, M. E., Reimers, S. J., Calvini, G., Spears, R., Beesley, T., & Murphy, R. A. (2010). Stereotype formation: Biased by association. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 139(1), 138-161. doi:10.1037/a0018210

Madon, S., Guyll, M., Hilbert, S. J., Kyriakatos, E., & Vogel, D. L. (2006). Stereotyping the stereotypic: When individuals match social stereotypes. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 36(1), 178-205. doi:10.1111/j.0021-9029.2006.00057

Mason, M. F., Cloutier, J., & Macrae, C. N. (2006). On construing others: Category and stereotype activation from facial cues. Social Cognition, 24(5), 540-562. Retrieved from

Otgaar, H., Smeets, T., Merckelbach, H., Jelicic, M., Verschuere, B., Galliot, A., et al. (2011). Adaptive memory: Stereotype activation is not enough. Memory & Cognition, 39(6), 1033-1041. doi:10.3758/s13421-011-0091-2

Radvansky, G. A., Copeland, D. E., & Hippel, W. V. (2010). Stereotype activation, inhibition, and aging. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 46(1), 51-60. doi:10.1016/j.jesp.2009.09.010

Full Text: PDF


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.