The authors present a framework to better account for the social dimensions people use to categorize others and the nuanced stereotypes they hold. Conceiving stereotypes as imperfect but useful tools for managing social threats and opportunities, and incorporating ideas from Life History Theory, the authors propose three dimensions of special significance for social perception-age, sex, and home ecology (characterized as "desperation" versus "hopeful"). People possess stereotypes about others along these dimensions-as intersecting AgeSexEcology stereotypes-because, interactively, these dimensions shape the goals and behavioral strategies of others. The authors hypothesize that AgeSexEcology stereotypes are universal. They further propose that race is an important dimension for categorization in the United States because it provides a cue to ecology, and that AgeSexRace stereotypes in the United States should thus track AgeSexEcology stereotypes. The authors discuss several novel implications of this approach for the literature on social stereotypes and for social perception processes more broadly.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Psychology
- Developmental and Educational Psychology