Stereotypy in Interpersonal Perception and its Relation to Emotional Insecurity

Russell R. Kania, Marquette University


In 1922, Walter Lippman, a noted journalist, coined the term stereotype. By stereotype, he meant a relatively fixed "picture in the head" which persons have of various aspects of their world. He reasoned that since we do not directly or totally perceive anything, our perception always contains previous forms of information from others and from our previous experience. This information we arrange in functional categories. These categories are embellished and stabilized through interaction with new stimuli and are also provided readymade by "significant others" during a lifetime of socialization.