Thursday, February 24, 2011

Stereotyping


In a bit of a follow up to my last post, I’d like to address my (and by the comments, many others) aversion to being put into a box.

For starters I feel if you can define me so precisely and label everything I do then you can predict my behaviour, and if you can do that then one of the next logical extensions is that it’s probably not really me in control and therefore freewill is out the door. Forget that, I’m in control here.

I have done a Merrill-Reid personality type test recently (Analytical – Driver if you were wondering, good thing I’m in market research then huh). Maybe it was the Analytical Driver in me but I got into a bit of an argument with our head of HR for the region (Australia/Pacific), when a two day course focussed on how to deal with each personality type when working for or presenting to them. My argument went along the lines of: ‘I know the people that I am working with better than grouping them into one of four boxes, this is a waste of my time’.

Don’t get me wrong, stereotypes have their uses, they have evolved to help us make quick decisions, if someone is wearing a stethoscope it is usually safe to assume they are a doctor or medical professional for example, rather than having to go through the process of confirming which is time consuming and in this case, may cost lives. This was admittedly probably more useful back in the hunter/gatherer age when if you saw someone you didn’t know, holding a spear which is pointed in your direction, you assume they are a rival tribesman and probably trying to kill you, therefore, before it is too late to confirm, you go into survival mode and get that fight/flight mechanism up and running.

It also has its uses in marketing too in narrowing down a particular target market, but as discussed it also has its limitations.

For example, if I told you I saw Rammstein play live a month back at the Big Day Out and they were an absolute highlight of the whole festival, you would probably make assumptions about the type of person I am. Safe to say I would guess that 90% of those assumptions are wrong, take a stab in the comments and prove me wrong.

31 comments:

  1. I kind of agree with the post but I would never categorize someone from a post he made. I would have to meet the person first.

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  2. 85% of all statistics are made up.

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  3. Neckbeards! All of you! Don't worry, I am one too. Or am I?

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  4. based on your posts I would say you are a middle child...?
    ;)

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  5. Its human nature to find peoples faults and poke fun
    stereo types are wrong though.

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  6. Well, based on your musical tastes you can't really find anything out, tbh.

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  7. Totally agree man, while stereotyping like this can be useful in terms of mass marketing, I find they are much less useful when dealing with individuals.

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  8. I'd say I dislike people that judge others, but then I'd be judging the judges and would need to hate myself. Unfortunately I've confused myself and hate me anyways.

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  9. I'm definitely not a fan of one being typecast in his or her own life. Being placed into a box by people without getting to know them first is an unfortunate side to our society.

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  10. Stereotypes have their advantages and disadvantages; the main disadvantage is for the individual. It's useful when thinking of (or targeting, as in the case of marketing) large groups.

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  11. I thought the Merrill-Reid was fascinating.

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  12. Everyday people prove the different stereotypes at my work place. It's really unfortunate...

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  13. rammstein + marilyn manson fan = stereotyping in high school. damn I don't miss that place.

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  14. @ScottD: "85% of all statistics are made up. "

    Only 100% of the time.

    Also, I was a metal fan and was stereotyped. But I guess I do the same sometimes.

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  15. i had long hair in high school a couple years ago and was pushed around for having it

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  16. Even though I know it's wrong, I stereotpye anyways.

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  17. Stereotypes suck, most of the time.

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  18. nice post, i tend to sterotype doctors and the-like :)

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  19. Stereotyping can be kinda funny though, alot of them are based on fact however, I think most of us just look at things and interpret them to mean whatever we want

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  20. life is no fun without stereotypes

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  21. nice post it's true +followed
    check out my blog http://amboredfun.blogspot.com/

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  22. Interesting theories there, thanks for your insight!

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  23. if you listen to rammstein i would think you would be a metal-head person but i think i would be wrong now aint i?

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  24. I agree completely, good post!

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  25. You are someone who is about to find his place on the internet. I support that, post more stuff like this.

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