The role of the stereotype in the process of mass communication
The concept of a stereotype was introduced into the social sciences in 1922 by W. Lippman.
A stereotype is a simplified, preconceived notion that does not follow from one's own experience. These simplifications in a certain way affect the perception and understanding of the phenomena of the surrounding reality.
T. Marjditsky describes the following features of the stereotype.
• Stereotypes are incorrect generalizations - too broad, exaggerated or simplistic.
• Stereotypes are beliefs common to a certain group of people in a society, usually associated with perceptions of the socio-psychological or anthropological characteristics of other social groups.
• Stereotypes, being a system of beliefs and attitudes taken in advance, are not formed through social experience.
• Stereotypes are transmitted using the language.
• Stereotypes are relatively stable and difficult to change.
On the basis of these characteristics, the stereotype can be defined as the widespread beliefs about facts of reality, spread by means of language or image in certain social groups, leading to very simplified exaggerated estimates and judgments on the part of individuals. They significantly affect the perception of information by those people who have them.
The stereotype consists of two components: a cognitive image that provides the predisposition of the subject to the perception of mass information, and an instrumental-practical setting that creates a context for evaluating information and internal readiness of the subject for subsequent actions. If the instrumental component begins to dominate the cognitive component, i.e. the person perceives only what he wants to perceive, the truth becomes indistinguishable from lies, persuasion grows into prejudices, the categorical stereotype turns into "image", and people into an impersonal and manipulated "lonely crowd".
How are they formed? The thinking of man tends to compose concrete images from abstract reality; there is an interpretation of abstract mental constructions as things, the reification of abstractions. This trend leads to the consolidation in the minds of a certain social group of similar concrete images.
Another source of stereotypes is the natural inclination of people to "simplified thinking". A stream of information is falling on a modern person, so he resorts to this simplification. Thus, stereotypes arise that act as conditional "labels", pasted on people and phenomena. They deeply affect the whole process of perception.
Stereotypes that have a pronounced emotional coloring are very stable mental formations and are difficult to change.
On the effectiveness of communication, we can judge by the degree of its influence on the recipient, on its settings (ie, relatively stable views), habits, stereotypes, etc. This ns means (although it does not exclude) that they must necessarily change their vector or change to opposite ones. Most often, according to experts, the result of communication, on the contrary, is the strengthening of those stereotypes of consciousness and behavior that were formed earlier. For example, it is known that people, getting acquainted with the news, tend first of all to seek in them confirmation of already existing, previously established views. The mechanisms of the human psyche act in such a way that a person selects exactly the information that corresponds to his psychological, ideological inclinations, likes and attitudes. In addition, resistance to the perception of new norms and values promoted, for example, by the media, can be provided by a system of established group norms and values internalized by the individual.
A partial change in the views and behavior of the recipient as a result of exposure to a message is possible if its views and attitudes are unsustainable if there are gaps in knowledge in the relevant fields. The less a person is aware of any area, the more he is subject to external information influence in it.
Cardinal change of views and behavior is rare enough. For such a change, the influence of information obtained from only one source is not enough. Such changes can be caused only by a whole system of factors - a change in the socio-economic and political situation, the influence of the media, changes in the immediate environment of a person. A complete change in the views and attitudes of a person without apparent external preconditions is extremely rare.
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