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The role of stereotypes in medical decision-making processes, Medical Decision Making


Stereotyping is a process through which we come to judge other people and respond to them in terms of their social category memberships, such as their sex or their ethnicity or their age group. Stereotyping can be contrasted with the process of individuation, whereby one considers the unique constellation of attributes that a particular individual possesses. This process does not necessarily involve ignoring people's social category memberships, including their sex or their ethnicity, but it does imply going beyond such factors to look at a broader constellation of characteristics that make that individual unique, and not someone who's functionally interchangeable with other members of his or her category. The 1st step in combating stereotypes is to create awareness about the dangers that they pose for decision making. We also need to have motivation and cognitive capacity because the alternatives to stereotyping are ones that often take more mental effort than stereotypic responses do. Individuation is more work than stereotyping. Stereotypes give us a quick and easy way of responding to the world, which certainly has its usefulness.




Galen Bodenhausen

Date Published



Bodenhausen, Galen. 2005. The role of stereotypes in medical decision-making processes. Medical Decision Making.(1): 112-118.


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