The Evolutionary Logics of Stereotyping, Stereotypes, Prejudices, and Discrimination

Steve Neuberg

Foundation Professor, Department of Psychology
Arizona State University, USA


Prominent theoretical approaches to understanding stereotyping, the content of stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination struggle to capture the great variability in the forms they take, the factors that shape these forms, and how these forms relate to one another. I present an alternative perspective, one predicated on the assumption that our evolved psychology is designed to predict, detect, and manage the threats and opportunities others potentially afford us. This affordance management approach not only captures what we have long known but, more important, generates a large number of novel (and now empirically supported) predictions about previously undetected nuances about stereotyping, stereotypes, prejudices, and discrimination that lie outside the theoretical architectures of prominent approaches.


Steve Neuberg is Foundation Professor and Chair of the Department of Psychology at Arizona State University. His research takes an evolutionary approach toward better understanding stereotyping and prejudice, motivation as a driver of social cognition, and group processes more broadly.  Neuberg’s work has been published in outlets such as Proceedings of the National Academy of SciencesPsychological ReviewAdvances in Experimental Social PsychologyJournal of Personality and Social PsychologyPsychological Science, and Perspectives on Psychological Science; has been supported by the National Science Foundation and National Institute of Health; and has received the Daniel M. Wegner Theoretical Innovation Prize from the Society for Social and Personality Psychology and the Gordon Allport Intergroup Relations Prize from the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues. He is the recipient of several ASU teaching honors, including the Outstanding Doctoral Mentor Award and his college’s Outstanding Teaching Award.