Edinburgh Research Explorer

How societal stereotypes might form and evolve via cumulative cultural evolution

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  • Douglas Martin
  • Sheila J Cunningham
  • Jacqui Hutchison
  • Gillian Slessor
  • Kenneth Smith

Related Edinburgh Organisations

Open Access permissions

Open

Documents

  • Download as Adobe PDF

    Rights statement: This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Martin D, Cunningham SJ, Hutchison J, Slessor G, Smith K. How societal stereotypes might form and evolve via cumulative cultural evolution. Soc Personal Psychol Compass, which has been published in final form at https://doi.org/10.1111/spc3.12338. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.

    Accepted author manuscript, 439 KB, PDF document

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-13
JournalSocial and Personality Psychology Compass
Volume11
Issue number9
Early online date11 Sep 2017
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 11 Sep 2017

Abstract

The current article examines how societal stereotypes might form and evolve through a process of cumulative cultural evolution as social information is repeatedly passed from person to person. Social psychology research has done much to inform our understanding about the substantial influence stereotypes exert on us as individuals and on our society, yet comparatively little is known about how society’s pools of stereotype knowledge form and how they evolve. Here we review evidence that as social information is repeatedly passed from person to person there is a continuous cycle of stereotype formation and evolution that is driven by constraints and biases in: 1. observations of the social environment; 2. cognitive representations of the social environment; 3. social transmissions of cognitive representations of the social environment. We suggest the reason stereotypes exist and persist is because they are perfectly adapted for human cognition and that the reason they are perfectly adapted for human cognition is because they are the cumulative product of human cognition.

Download statistics

No data available

ID: 40340436