Psychology Dictionary of Arguments

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Complex: a complex is composed of components that can be distinguished from each other and are relatively autonomous. Complex behavior refers to systems that consist of several components. The relative independence of the components is manifested in their behavior. Relative autonomy of the components is determined by the description of the complex as a whole.

Annotation: The above characterizations of concepts are neither definitions nor exhausting presentations of problems related to them. Instead, they are intended to give a short introduction to the contributions below. – Lexicon of Arguments.

Author Item Summary Meta data
Haslam I 232
Complexity/stereotypes/Lippmann/McGarty: the journalist Walter Lippmann [suggested] humans’ information-processing power is limited by virtue of the fact that the social world is far too complex to make sense of in detail.
In his 1922 book Public Opinion(1), Lippmann suggested that in order to avoid information overload, people are forced to summarize and be selective, and to use generalizations to form impressions of groups rather than of individuals – that is, to rely on stereotypes.
In the mid-1970s this line of thinking was extended by Hamilton and Gifford - two social psychologists who hypothesized that negative stereotypes of minorities might also form as a result of people’s tendency to make faulty associations. (Hamilton and Gifford 1976(2)). >Stereotypes/Social psychology, >Illusory correlation/Psychological theories, >Illusory correlation/Gifford/Hamilton.

1. Lippmann, W. (1922) Public Opinion. New York: Harcourt Brace.
2. Hamilton, D.L. and Gifford, R.K. (1976) ‘Illusory correlation in intergroup perception: A cognitive basis of stereotypic judgments’, Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 12: 392–407.

Craig McGarty, „Stereotype Formation. Revisiting Hamilton and Gifford’s illusory correlation studies“, in: Joanne R. Smith and S. Alexander Haslam (eds.) 2017. Social Psychology. Revisiting the Classic studies. London: Sage Publications

Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution.
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

PolLippm I
Walter Lippmann
The Phantom Public New York 1993

Haslam I
S. Alexander Haslam
Joanne R. Smith
Social Psychology. Revisiting the Classic Studies London 2017

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