This final part of the social psychology section of this course is going to deal with how we think about groups. These groups could be of all sorts, though there's particular interests for obvious reasons in how we make sense of racial groups, and ethnic groups, and various social groups. So, put differently, we're interested here in the science of stereotypes, and prejudice, and racism. As a starting point, we have to realize that all animals, naturally categorize the world. We naturally collect information about distinct individuals, and we use our information to generalize when we're exposed to new individuals. So, for instance you might not have seen this particular chair, or apple, or dog before, but just by looking at them that are probably a chair, an apple, and a dog, and you can make all sorts of judgments about them. The chair you could sit on, and the apple you could eat, the dog barks. You recognize you might be wrong. There might be a trick chair that falls apart when you sit down on it, the apple might be poisoned, the dog might have a medical condition rendering it silent, but for the most part you make generalizations about things, and you use your generalizations to make your way into the world, and without it, you'd never be able to survive. You wouldn't know what to do, if you saw a chair, or a dog, or an apple. As William Hazlitt puts it, without the aid of prejudice and custom, which is his way of expressing the idea that we generalize based on singular examples, I shall not be able to find my way across the room, nor know how to conduct myself in any circumstances, nor what to feel in any relation of life. Now this is uncontroversial and has few moral connotations with regard to most of life. You walk to a chair, you want to sit down and you drop yourself on it comfortable it will support you and that's how you live. But of course we make generalizations about people. So, we break the world up into different types of people, you break the world up into men and women, you break the world up based on age, of course based on ethnicity, professions, religion, sexual orientation, nations of birth within a nation where people come from, even something as subtle as the distinction between coming from one American university, versus another American University. I think Hazlitt's point holds true here too, where for each of these groups we could make accurate generalizations, and if you lost the ability to do it, you wouldn't cope as well in the world. Just to take an extreme example, if you're asking somebody for directions, you probably aren't going to ask a baby in a crib, because you know babies don't know directions. More subtly, if you wanted to make a judgment about somebody's political orientation, you might use your generalizations to help you do so. In fact, it turns out that a lot of research suggesting stereotypes are often positive. If you think about all these groups, you probably believe things about them that are not negative at all or that are good, and more to the point, stereotypes are often accurate. There's a lot of studies showing that when you ask people generalizations about for instance which ethnicities are more likely to become lawyers, or whose tends to be bigger, or who does better at school. People have stereotypes and they use them to make their judgments. But interestingly, they're typically right. We're not stupid. We look at the world, we analyze things, and come to conclusions and make some useful generalizations. If this was all there was to it, there'd be nothing so wrong about stereotyping.