• Hans-Werner Bierhoff
Part of the SSSP Springer Series in Social Psychology book series (SSSOC)


Stereotypes are everywhere. Hardly anybody can free him/herself from the temptation of thinking in terms of popular prejudices, whether when talking about the differences between men and women or when comparing the Germans with the French. Some stereotypes are welcomed by the people concerned because they convey a positive social identity or because they are simply good advertising. For example, in an advertisement for food from France it is appropriate that the French have a reputation for knowing something about food. Other stereotypes convey a negative social identity, for example, when the Russians are portrayed as aggressive. Such enemy concepts are an important form of propaganda. If increased defense costs have to be justified, enemy: concepts are almost essential because they generate the fear which motivates the members of a society to invest large sums in the military sector. Enemy concepts do not have to agree with reality. It is well known that the Russians have not begun a war of aggression in the last 150 years. Nevertheless, the concept of the Russians still contains the characteristic aggressive.


Social Identity Physical Attractiveness Social Identity Theory Target Person Authoritarian Personality 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hans-Werner Bierhoff
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of MarburgMarburg/LahnGermany

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