Truth about Stereotypes Revealed

If a lie is repeated enough, it often becomes truth, as the old expression goes. When it comes to academia, that can also be the case. (Global warming, anyone?)

Psychologists often use social psychologist Gordon Allport’s classic book The Nature of Prejudice to support their claims that stereotypes are inaccurate and erroneously pigeonhole their objects.
But one Rutgers University professor has discovered the oft-repeated mantra from scholars of  “stereotype inaccuracy” is based on exactly zero scientific evidence.

Social science professor Dr. Lee Jussim set out to prove “stereotype inaccuracy” and shout it from the mountaintops – and instead he discovered that scholarly claims of “stereotype inaccuracy” which he defines as “the extent to which a belief about a group that someone actually holds corresponds with or is discrepant from what that group is actually like” are baseless.

“Every article or book that declared stereotypes to be inaccurate either similarly cited no source, or ended in an identical dead end via a slightly different route,” he recently told The College Fix. “Famous psychologists declaring stereotypes inaccurate without a citation or evidence meant anyone could likewise do so, thereby creating an illusion that pervasive stereotype inaccuracy was ‘settled science.’ It was only if one looked for the empirical research underlying such claims did one discover that there was nothing there, just a black hole.” 

And that black hole is what is taught to students nationwide as gospel fact – probably because it’s politically incorrect to say stereotypes are grounded in realities.

Jussim, for his part, is not playing along. 

“Over the last 30 years or so, rigorous social science assessments of the accuracy of stereotypes have been steadily rolling in — and, usually (though not always), they show that people’s beliefs about groups are pretty (not perfectly) accurate,” he told The Fix. But he said when he presents his findings to peers, they sometimes respond aggressively, “sneering and insulting.”

So he’s taking his data to a larger audience. In addition to maintaining a blog on Psychology Today, he is co-founder of Heterodox Academy, a website for free-thinking professors who seek to improve academic disciplines through viewpoint diversity. 

Most Popular


Courage: The Greatest of Virtues

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is Jonah Goldberg’s weekly “news”letter, the G-File. Subscribe here to get the G-File delivered to your inbox on Fridays. Dear Reader (Or Listener), As the reporter assigned the job of writing the article about all of Sidney Blumenthal’s friends and supporters told his ... Read More

My American Dream

This morning, at 8 a.m., I did something I’ve wanted to do for as long as I can remember: I became an American. I first applied for a visa in early 2011, and since then I have slowly worked my way through the system — first as a visa-holder, then as a permanent resident (green card), and, finally, as a ... Read More

The Gun-Control Debate Could Break America

Last night, the nation witnessed what looked a lot like an extended version of the famous “two minutes hate” from George Orwell’s novel 1984. During a CNN town hall on gun control, a furious crowd of Americans jeered at two conservatives, Marco Rubio and Dana Loesch, who stood in defense of the Second ... Read More