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Social Categorization Humans are very efficient creatures and we use many tools to compress utilize and retain information One of the tools that we use is termed social categorization Social categorization describes a kind organization used by people to remember social interactions By thinking of people as members of a group rather than as individuals one can simplify and recall information quickly As social creatures humans come in contact with many people of different colors shapes sizes and genders so this categorization to some degree is useful However it also creates several social problems including but not limited to discrimination prejudice racism and stereotyping Social Categories regardless of their negative aspects serve a purpose They are efficient Imagine having to sift through a pile of papers with no kind of order to find one specific page of notes How hard would that be It is much better to have the papers organized so one can find what one is looking for easily Blaine 15 In several studies subjects were asked to process traits of a made-up person while performing an unrelated cognitive task like listening to a lecture Some of the subjects were primed with a category priming is a procedure where word is flashed rapidly on a computer screen and a person cant consciously comprehend it The results showed that the people who were primed did significantly better on the post-test than those who were not This demonstrates that categorizing is not a cognitive conscious behavior it simply helps us conserve resources for other cognitive activities such as memory and attention Thinking of a group is easier than identifying and attributing characteristics to an individual and it requires less cognition Blaine 16 We use perceptual salience to create categories Perceptual salience is a term that describes ones tendency to be drawn to the noticeable or salient characteristics in a situation or a person These atypical qualities cause us to categorize because we associate people
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