Authored by: Todd D. Nelson

Handbook of Prejudice, Stereotyping, and Discrimination

Print publication date:  February  2009
Online publication date:  February  2009

Print ISBN: 9780805859522
eBook ISBN: 9781841697772
Adobe ISBN: 9781136642708


 Download Chapter



In and of itself, categorization is an adaptive feature of the brain, because it frees up cognition to perform more important tasks (Fiske & Neuberg, 1990). Once we know that this object before us is a table, we know what its purpose is and how to think about it, based on our earlier acquired information about tables and their features (Mervis & Rosch, 1981; Rosch, 1978). However, when we start applying this natural tendency to categorize objects in our environment to people, the categorization process is not nearly as accurate nor is it free of consequences. Miscategorizing a couch for a bed likely will not be a big deal under most circumstances. However, mistakenly categorizing a man as a woman might get you a punch in the face! Despite this and other risks, everyone tends to categorize other people on an innumerable array of dimensions.

Search for more...
Back to top

Use of cookies on this website

We are using cookies to provide statistics that help us give you the best experience of our site. You can find out more in our Privacy Policy. By continuing to use the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.