Functions and meaning of stereotypes

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The functions of the stereotypes

Stereotypes are sensory-colored images which accumulating the social and psychological experience of communication and interactions of the individuals.

Stereotypes have the huge number of features: integrity, value coloring, steadiness, conservatism, emotionality, rationality and etc. The functions of stereotypes are the following: transfer of relatively reliable information; orientating function; influence at the creation of reality.

The function of transferring of relatively reliable information.
From the first contacts with the foreign culture there is always a classification of a new information and there is a formation of relatively discrete model of this culture. This can be gained, as a rule, by the way of simplifying and generalization of reality, extraction of the most character features of the given culture. That’s why on basis of all variety of impressions there are well-defined circuits of the foreign culture and there is a characteristic of its representatives according to the certain features.

Orientating function.
In such a way the stereotypes help to distribute the social environment into observable and understandable groups and they let simplify the difficulty of unknown cultural surroundings.

Influence at the creation of reality.
Stereotypization allows to give the value comparison of the foreign and your own group and in this way to protect the traditions, views, values of the own group. In connection with this the stereotypes are some kind of protective mechanism which is serving for saving of positive identity of the own cultural group. Ethnical stereotypes are the ideas about the members of one ethnical groups from the point of view of the other. That’s why the stereotypes are projected, generally, at the big social groups. The personal experience of communication with the representatives of the foreign culture, as a rule, doesn’t lead to the correction of stereotype, even in that case if the declination from already existing idea is obvious. In such circumstances our experience is interpreted as an exception and existing stereotype is continuing to be considered as a norm.

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