Q:

Why do people judge based on appearance?

A:

Even people who do not want to do so tend to judge others by their appearance as part of the crucial human ability to be able to make snap judgments about people and situations. Being able to put sensory input into categories is vitally important for the human brain to function and deal with the world around it. One by-product is judging others based on appearance.

In the distant past, the ability to judge other people immediately upon seeing them was crucial for survival. People needed to assess at first glance whether an unknown person was a threat or intended harm to them. Although it is much more rare that people in the modern world need to make these same snap judgments, the human tendency to judge based on appearance remains. Studies show that appearance makes a difference in practical ways. Those who are tall, thin, blonde, fit and good-looking tend to make more money than their less visually appealing counterparts.

People not only resort to stereotypes when they meet new people, they also use those stereotypes in planning their own world view and goals. When one is presented with a discrepancy to a stereotype, however, the brain secretes chemicals that provide a startle response as well as a pleasure response, allowing people to change their minds about individuals even though they initially categorized them according to their stereotypes.


Is this answer helpful?

Similar Questions

  • Q:

    How are stereotypes perpetuated and reinforced?

    A:

    Stereotypes are perpetuated when people are exposed to individuals with actions that confirm the appearance, values and behaviors of the stereotype. Stereotypes are reinforced when people justify the actions and behaviors because of the known stereotype and continue to judge others based on appearance, race, gender, economic status and occupation.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is the meaning of stigmatization?

    A:

    Individuals who are shamed, bullied or discriminated against based on preconceived judgments of their appearance, disabilities or lifestyles are victims of stigmatization. Stigmatized individuals fall outside the society definition of "normal." Examples include prostitutes, mental patients, drug addicts or people with physical deformities, according to About.com.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is the ethnic origin of surnames?

    A:

    When Europeans first began assigning each other surnames to differentiate individuals in expanding urban areas, the names frequently referenced someone's appearance or the place that they were from. Names such as "Long," "Short," "Black" and "White" were common.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    Who are some people who stood up for what they believed in?

    A:

    Two people who stood up for what they believed in were Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King Jr. Both men came from modest beginnings and worked their way into the public eye while fearlessly speaking out on what they believed in, which was human rights.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore