Ariely, Dan (2009-06-06). Predictably Irrational
Expectations can influence nearly every aspect of our life. … A stereotype, after all, is a way of categorizing information, in the hope of predicting experiences. The brain cannot start from scratch at every new situation. It must build on what it has seen before. For that reason, stereotypes are not intrinsically malevolent. They provide shortcuts in our never-ending attempt to make sense of complicated surroundings. This is why we have the expectation that an elderly person will need help using a computer or that a student at Harvard will be intelligent.* But because a stereotype provides us with specific expectations about members of a group, it can also unfavorably influence both our perceptions and our behavior. … although expectations can make us look foolish from time to time, they are also very powerful and useful.