Stereotypes, Prejudice, & Discrimination – MCAT Psychology | MedSchoolCoach

Stereotypes, Prejudice, & Discrimination

MCAT Psychology - Chapter 6 - Section 2 - Attitudes & Behavior - Biases & Prejudice
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Sample MCAT Question - Stereotypes, Prejudice, & Discrimination

The phrase “boys will be boys” is sometimes used to uphold the idea that it is normal for men to be more aggressive than women. This is an example of:

a) Gender discrimination

b) Gender stereotype

c) Gender prejudice

d) Gender bias

B is correct. Stereotypes are oversimplified generalizations about a group of people. In this example, the stereotype that men are aggressive is highlighted. Therefore, choice B is correct. This is not prejudice because it is not focused on an individual’s preconceived beliefs, thoughts, feelings, and attitude about a group (choice C is incorrect). This is also not an example of discrimination because there is no indication of specific negative behavior in the question (choice A is incorrect). This is not gender bias (though gender stereotypes can lead to gender bias) because there is no preference given to one gender over the other (choice D is incorrect).

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Stereotypes, Prejudice & Discrimination for the MCAT

Stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination are interconnected facets of social psychology that profoundly influence our perceptions, attitudes, and behaviors toward others. Here’s what you need to know about these three concepts for the MCAT.


Stereotypes are oversimplified generalizations about a group of people. They can be about race, gender, age, or any other factor. For example, one might stereotype French people as snobbish or pretentious. Women might be stereotyped as being more emotionally intelligent. However, these are unjustified cognitive labels as they do not apply to every member of a group


Prejudice is an individual’s preconceived feelings and attitudes toward a group. Typically, prejudice refers to a negative belief that is unjustifiable. For example, a sexist individual has a particularly intense dislike for members of the other sex, is prejudiced against that sex.


Discrimination is carrying out specific negative actions, targeted against a particular group based on an individual’s prejudices. Unlike stereotypes and prejudice, discrimination implies that behavior is being carried out directly against the particular members of a targeted group. For example, someone prejudiced against old people might discriminate against them by choosing to only hire young people.

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