Stereotype

Preconceived and clichéd notions (biases or cognitive structures) that help individuals process information through associations between reality and the "pictures in your head." Stereotyping people often takes place in the social categories of race, national or ethnic groups, gender, class, generation or age group, profession, interest (geeks, nerds, jocks, skateboarders, chess-players), etc. Although stereotypes have often fed into xenophobic behaviours, stereotypes are not always negative. Because people are the products of their genes and their environment, they can form sweeping opinions about whole groups of people from the ways that people around them feel about and treat various people. The primary source for such notions is (or used to be) one's parents. The media — television, internet, etc. — have an increasingly powerful influence on the formation of stereotypes. (Artlex.com)

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