Friday, November 10, 2017

Research on Stereotype Accuracy: Dubious

Social science research claims stereotypes are generally accurate (narrowly defined as "beliefs about groups").

But such research is easy to rig. If you ask participants for generalizations on easy questions, they'll give accurate answers. If you ask harder questions, accuracy plummets. Important issues generally have difficult answers.

That is not a major knock on stereotyping itself. We should stereotype when we have the evidence, even when the probability of harm is low. Being wrong about con artistry even once in 20 times over a long period of time will cause major harms.

If stereotypes were generally accurate, cultural Marxism would be almost nonexistent. Instead, most adults on this planet believe in some form of cultural Marxism, with its multitudes of inaccurate ethnoracial stereotypes. Most individuals believe false stereotypes about the secular or avuncular groups they belong to. Etc.

Some probably doubt me because stereotype accuracy has the edge-o-sphere seal of approval. Below are some questions. Most humans would not produce remotely accurate stereotypes.

Origins of Ashkenazi Jews?
probable stereotypes: white or Khazar or Middle Eastern.
more accurate stereotype: Mixture of Southern European and Middle Eastern ancestry

Multicultural groups?
probable stereotype: tolerant
more accurate stereotype: intolerant with ever increasing totalitarianism

Black-white interracial aggression in US?
probable stereotypes: whites are more likely to attack or blacks are somewhat more likely to attack
more accurate stereotype: "a black person was 27 times more likely to attack a white person than vice versa"

Serial killing?
probable stereotype: disproportionately a white thing
more accurate stereotype: disproportionately a black thing

Reducing ethnoracial injustices?
probable stereotype: reduced once individuals proclaiming equality have total power
more accurate stereotype: multiply once individuals proclaiming equality have total power

Racial supremacism?
probable stereotype: a white thing
more accurate stereotype: concentrated among nonwhites who believe they have rights to mercantilism, self-determination, affirmative action, speech freedoms, terrorizing nonbelievers, while denying speech freedoms, self-determination, and other rights to whites

We could sit around for years creating millions of questions about groups that humans would answer with false stereotypes.

If we switch to a broader, everyday definition of stereotypes, meaning any generalizations, the general inaccuracy remains.

Cause of changing seasons?
probable stereotype: distance from sun
more accurate stereotype: tilt of Earth affecting length of days and amount of solar radiation striking earth per square meter

Tobin Tax?
probable stereotype: tax on something
more accurate stereotype: taxing spot conversions of currency

Congressional Franking?
probable stereotype: legislators naming kids Frank
more accurate stereotype: legislators mailing "informative" propaganda at little cost to themselves

Pigouvian tax?
probable stereotype: something pigs
more accurate stereotype: taxing harmful activities to reduce their frequency and harms, making harm causers pay the costs they create for others

Div, grad, curl?
probable stereotype: American football receiver jargon
more accurate stereotype: vector calculus

Stop Corporate Inversions Act?
probable stereotype: something inverted
more accurate stereotype: would ban corporations from re-incorporating outside the US to avoid taxes

Minamata Convention?
probable stereotype: something Minnesota or Japanese
more accurate stereotype: regulation of mercury usage

probable stereotype: something indigenous tribe
more accurate stereotype: would ban mountain top destruction

Truman Committee?
probable stereotype: something nuclear weapons
more accurate stereotype: investigated corruption and inefficiency during World War II

Davis Bacon Act?
probable stereotype: mmm... bacon
more accurate stereotype: required prevailing wages on federally funded projects, including contractors and subcontractors

Instead of focusing on whether individuals' current stereotypes are accurate, we should focus on how to make stereotypes more accurate by teaching reasoning, improving cultures, and breeding individuals with a strong tendency toward extreme cognitive dissonance when they get stereotypes wrong, especially generalizations about ethical issues.