Where Do Stereotypes Come From?

Assumptions and stereotypes about groups of people are automatically formed in the conscious mind and transferred to the unconscious mind, and these stereotypes are largely influenced by the surrounding culture, according to an article in Psychology Today. The brain uses stereotypes to create shortcuts for itself to explain why things may be a certain way, and many people do not realize that their brains are making these assumptions subconsciously.

Research from Mahzarin Banaji, a Yale University Psychology professor, finds that people are unconsciously predisposed to biases and discrimination, says the article. Many stereotypes are shared through the surrounding culture, such as through media outlets, and the culture then affects the unconscious mind.