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In social psychology, a stereotype is any thought widely adopted about specific types of individuals or certain ways of behaving intended to represent the entire group of those individuals or behaviors as a whole.

Within psychology and across other disciplines, different conceptualizations and theories of stereotyping exist, at times sharing commonalities, as well as containing contradictory elements.

A person can embrace a stereotype to avoid humiliation such as failing a task and blaming it on a stereotype.

that if ingroup members disagree on an outgroup stereotype, then one of three possible collective actions follow: First, ingroup members may negotiate with each other and conclude that they have different outgroup stereotypes because they are stereotyping different subgroups of an outgroup (e.g., Russian gymnasts versus Russian boxers).

In this tripartite view of intergroup attitudes, stereotypes reflect expectations and beliefs about the characteristics of members of groups perceived as different from one's own, prejudice represents the emotional response, and discrimination refers to actions.

According to Daniel Katz and Kenneth Braly, stereotyping leads to racial prejudice when people emotionally react to the name of a group, ascribe characteristics to members of that group, and then evaluate those characteristics.

By contrast, a newer model of stereotype content theorizes that stereotypes are frequently ambivalent and vary along two dimensions: warmth and competence.

This idea has been refuted by contemporary studies that suggest the ubiquity of stereotypes and it was suggested to regard stereotypes as collective group beliefs, meaning that people who belong to the same social group share the same set of stereotypes.

The model explains the phenomenon that some out-groups are admired but disliked, whereas others are liked but disrespected.

This model was empirically tested on a variety of national and international samples and was found to reliably predict stereotype content.

This stereotype was used to justify European colonialism in Turkey, India, and China.

An assumption is that people want their ingroup to have a positive image relative to outgroups, and so people want to differentiate their ingroup from relevant outgroups in a desirable way.

People create stereotypes of an outgroup to justify the actions that their in-group has committed (or plans to commit) towards that outgroup.

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