APPLICATION AND ACTIVATION OF STEREOTYPES: DECISIVE FACTORS
 
Pereira, M.E., Universidade Federal da Bahia, Brazil
 
This work intends to identify and discuss the influence of some fundamental elements that explain the activation and application of stereotypes. The first category group, physical attributes, involves the physical appearance and the verbal inflection of the members of the stereotyped group, with distinctiveness being especially important. The second category relates to the biological backgrounds of the stereotypes, especially with biological rhythms, in situations where the observer judges the members of the target group in a time of day incompatible with their circadian rhythm. The third category contemplates the individual dimension, emphasizing the influences of motivational, affective and cognitive factors. In the cognitive dimension, the degree of occupation of the cognitive system - especially when the observer is busy - will determine whether the observer will adopt a more individual judgment or will trust better some generic information on the target group members. The fourth category relates to the group dimension, emphasizing the social identity and the real conflicts among the groups, particularly their tendency to perceive in a homogeneous form, which implies the exclusion of out-group members when allocating resources. The last category deals with the contextual dimension, and points out mass media's influences, either as collectively shared beliefs or as effects of broader contexts such as the size of the urban center where the observer resides. In this sense, it argues that the inhabitants of larger cities will tend to adopt less stereotyped judgments than those who live in smaller cities.