Please wait a minute...
Advances in Psychological Science    2013, Vol. 21 Issue (1) : 1-21     DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2013.00001
Editor-In-Chief Invited |
Stereotypes as Categories of Knowledge: Complexity, Validity, Usefulness, and Essence in Perceptions of Group Differences*
Yueh-Ting Lee;Lee Jussim;Clark R. McCauley
(1 University of Toledo, Ohio, USA) (2 Rutgers University-New Brunswick, New Jersey, USA) (3 Bryn Mawr College and University of Pennsylvania, USA)
Download: PDF(266 KB)  
Export: BibTeX | EndNote | Reference Manager | ProCite | RefWorks    
Abstract  Stereotypes are categorical beliefs, which are more or less accurate representations of group differences. Stereotypes are more complex than is generally assumed. First, we address the multidimensionality of stereotypes under the framework of the cubic EPA model, which suggests that stereotypes are characterized by three dimensions: evaluation, potency, and accuracy. Specific attention is given to the relationship between stereotypes and totemic beliefs as collectively shared representations. Second, we review controversial research on the accuracy of stereotypes as a subset of human beliefs. Cultural stereotypes, personal stereotypes, judgment of individuals and groups, judgment criteria and meta-analytical results are examined, revealing the robust relationship between stereotypes and reality. Finally, we point to the importance of explanations of group differences, especially the perception of essence that is encouraged by group entitativity (perceptual ‘oneness’). We suggest that stereotyping is particularly powerful for groups with high entitativity and a perceived essence, and that a group’s totem is the manifestation of the group’s essence. Though we cannot resolve all the controversies relating to stereotyping, our perspective emphasizes stereotypes as categories useful for human interaction and survival.
Keywords stereotype accuracy      totems and beliefs      perceptual essence      group difference     

Thanks are extended to Professor Harry Triandis, Professor Carey Ryan, Professor Li Liu, and Heather Haught, Timothy Bodie, Michelle Beddow, Wenting Chen and other research assistants in Dr. Lee’s SCIR (Social Cognition and Intercultural Relations) Laboratory for valuable comments. Thanks are also extended to Editor Shu Li and reviewers for their constructive criticisms. Correspondence regarding this article should be directed to Yueh-Ting Lee, Department of Psychology, MS 948, University of Toledo, Toledo, OH 43606 USA (E-mail: or

Corresponding Authors: Yueh-Ting Lee   
Issue Date: 15 January 2013
E-mail this article
E-mail Alert
Articles by authors
Yueh-Ting Lee
Lee Jussim
Clark R. McCauley
Cite this article:   
Yueh-Ting Lee,Lee Jussim,Clark R. McCauley. Stereotypes as Categories of Knowledge: Complexity, Validity, Usefulness, and Essence in Perceptions of Group Differences*[J]. Advances in Psychological Science, 2013, 21(1): 1-21.
URL:     OR
No related articles found!
Full text



Copyright © Advances in Psychological Science
Support by Beijing Magtech