Stereotypes and misconceptions about peers influence teens. For example, stereotypes about athletes are that the jocks play hard and party harder. The bookish teens, the nerds, stay home and are wrapped up in books. According to a new study, teens make inaccurate assumptions about their peers based on these stereotypes.
In Developmental Psychology, the research published suggests that teens underestimate the amount of studying and exercise their peers to, and overestimate the amount of drugs and alcohol that they uyse.
There is a risk that teens could engage in potentially risky behavior following social norms that do not exist.
“The behavior of all types of kids are grossly misunderstood or misperceived by adolescents, not just the jocks and the populars but also the brains and the burnouts,” says senior investigator Prof. Mitch Prinstein. “Adolescents tend to conform to stereotypes that we have seen in ‘The Breakfast Club,’ but those stereotypes do not exist as dramatically as we once thought.”
In the 1985 John Hughes film, a group of teens who seem disparate are placed in detention together. The students, who are described as “a brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess and a criminal”realize eventually that they are more alike than their stereotyping of each other had led them to believe.