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Middle Ground: Who do you think I am

Middle Ground: Who do you think I am

 

 

Explore the ways you perceive people.

Try this:

  • Select images and statements that seem to fit each other. Are some faces more difficult to match to the various statements?
Headshot of a smiling young man wearing glasses and a light blue shirt against a white background.
photo of person
A woman with red hair and tattoos on her chest and arms, smiling at the camera.
A middle-aged man with short brown hair and a serious expression on his face.
A middle-aged woman with dark hair is smiling and wearing a red blouse with pearl necklace.
A smiling woman with short gray hair wearing a plaid shirt.
A smiling young man with short dark hair wearing a brown t-shirt.
A young woman with dark hair smiling brightly.
A smiling young man with short curly black hair and a bright smile.
A person with a warm, friendly smile, wearing a black shirt.

I would:
bet that this person is the most social of the group.

I would:
collaborate with this person on a puzzle or game.

I would:
trust this person to watch my child or pet.

I would:
bet that this person is very high-strung.

I would:
bet that this person is very gullible.

I would:
choose to live next to this person.

I would:
bet that this person is the most timid of the group.

I would:
choose this person as my boss.

I would:
bet that this person is very crafty.

I would:
trust this person to keep a secret.

I would:
bet that this person is very argumentative.

I would:
trust this person to repay a loan.

I would:
choose to stay on a deserted island with this person.

I would:
bet that this person is very materialistic.

I would:
choose to hire this person.

I would:
bet that this person is the most cunning of the group.

I would:
bet that this person is very emotional.

I would:
choose to work on a creative project with this person.

I would:
bet that this person is the most blunt of the group.

I would:
choose to serve on a jury with this person.

I would:
bet that this person is the most timid of the group.

I would:
bet that this person is very unpredictable.

I would:
trust this person to divide a lottery prize fairly.

I would:
bet that his person is the most aggressive of the group.

I would:
choose to share a meal with this person.

I would:
bet that this person is the most impulsive of the group.

I would:
choose to share a bathroom with this person.

I would:
bet that this person is very sensitive.

I would:
bet that this person is the most daring of the group.

I would:
be happy to sit near this person on a long plane ride.

I would:
invite this person to my birthday party.

 
  • Compare your answers with those from friends or other people. Did you choose different statements for the same image?

What's going on?

You picked statements to fit faces—but without knowing these people personally, how did you do that?

You probably relied in part on stereotypes, which are generalized beliefs about members of social groups. Stereotypes can help us quickly interpret social situations. Stereotypes can have a kernel of truth, but when they are inaccurate, they may lead us to treat others unfairly.

Scientists have found that we all use stereotypes at times. We can challenge our existing stereotypes by getting to know people as individuals rather than simply treating them as members of groups.


Further Reading

Guy Raz (2014). Why Do We Create Stereotypes? (podcast)

The Conversation (2017). “Combatting Stereotypes: How to Talk to Your Children.” (article)

 

 


National Science Foundation
This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1713638. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.