CULTURAL STEREOTYPES: It is somewhat common for people to form a view of a group of people based on isolated experiences, representations in popular culture, and the influence of peers. Stereotypes reduce a group down to a caricatured personality based upon a certain physical or cultural characteristic and as such neglect to consider the existence of variety within a group and individuality.
STEREOTYPES OF WHO CAN BE A SCIENTIST: Many people have an image of who scientists are, and who can become a scientist. The truth is the types of people who become scientists, engineers, and mathematicians are widely varied, including women and men of many backgrounds. They can work in many settings including offices, forests, and laboratories. Sociologists have shown that many people have a positive view of scientists and those who would approve of a child of either sex becoming a scientist has increased. Stereotypes from popular culture and other sources can influence the idea of what a scientist is and those stereotypes can influence people to steer them both toward and away from pursuing a science career for themselves.
The American Sociological Association contributed to the information contained in the TV portion of this report.