Huntington's theory, in other words, remains true because it is primarily supported by the countless stereotypes which are embedded in the human consciousness and which people tend to use to define the world around them.
Stereotypes are dangerous both because they function to impose false images on racial, ethnic, gender, cultural, social and religious groups and because those false images often motivate the imposition of harm on others. Perry R. Hinton(1993), a social psychologist who has researched and studied the phenomenon of stereotyping, confirms the harmfulness of stereotypes. As he writes in The psychology of interpersonal perception, "stereotyping can be seen as a more extreme form of typing where we see a whole group of people as homogeneous, with the same characteristics" (Hinton, 1993:56). The implication ere is that stereotyping involves the identification of certain characteristics in members of a specific group of people and then applying those characteristics to the whole. For example, because just over a dozen of the 1.6 billion Muslims across the world undertook a terrorist act against the United States, all Muslims are subsequently stereotyped as anti-Western terrorists whose primary objective is the destruction of the West. Stereotypes, in other words, are generalizations which tend to ignore all available evidence to the contrary.
Stereotypes and stereotyping are persistent despite the fact that many recognize both their falsity and harmfulness. Their persistency, in light of their harmfulness, has rendered the study of stereotypes and stereotyping, important activities. Following a definition of the concept and phenomenon of stereotypes and an overview of its theoretical parameters, the research shall present the results of a survey which was conducted on a test group of twenty of the researcher's colleagues, as a means of determining whether theory and reality coincide and, more importantly, as a strategy for acquiring a more concrete understanding of the practical and theoretical parameters of the phenomenon. The primary focus of the research shall be on gender stereotyping, considering its prevalence in the Middle East.
2 An Overview of the Concept of Stereotyping/Stereotypes
This section of the research shall review literature on the definition and theory of stereotypes/stereotyping for the purpose of articulating both a comprehensive definition of the phenomenon and explicating its theoretical framework.
The first to seek the academic and scientific understanding of the phenomenon of stereotyping and, indeed the first to both theorize and define the concept was Walter Lippmann (1991). In 1922, Lippmann commenced his lifelong study of the phenomenon and introduced the following definition of stereotypes:
For the most part we do not first see, and then define,