Katz, D., & Braly, K. (1933). Racial stereotypes of one hundred college students. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 28, 280-290.
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Developing from emerging recognition of social prejudice, researchers in the 1930’s were interested in how attitudes towards large social groups manifested toward individual members. Specifically, Katz and Braly postulated that stereotypes were “not based upon animosity toward a member of a proscribed group” because of individual characteristics, but rather because of attitudes (or “stereotypes”) against “race names” (p. 280). 100 Princeton undergraduates were asked to list traits of 10 prominent social groups of the time (Germans, Italians, Negroes, Irish, English, Jews, Americans, Chinese, Japanese, and Turks) and then check the 5 they felt were most representative of that group. Based on the fact that there was high agreement between raters for all of the groups, and that groups who generally experienced high levels of prejudice had very different levels of familiarity to participants, Katz and Braly concluded that contact with individual members of groups was not a necessary precursor for the creation of group stereotypes.
This article is considered a classic in social psychology as it was the first study to scientifically measure stereotypes about social groups. Katz and Braly’s discussion of what constitutes a stereotype and contributes to prejudice set the stage for the ways in which stereotyping and prejudice was thereafter studied in the field.
Brittany Bloodhart September 15, 2008