An 18th-century Dutch engraving of the peoples of the world, depicting the inhabitants of Asia, the Americas and Africa in their typical dress. Shown below are an Englishman, a Dutchman, a German and a Frenchman.
Police officers buying doughnuts and coffee, an example of perceived stereotypical behavior in North America.

In social psychology, a stereotype is an over-generalized belief about a particular category of people.[1] It is an expectation that people might have about every person of a particular group. The type of expectation can vary; it can be, for example, an expectation about the group's personality, preferences, or ability.

Stereotypes are generalized because one assumes that the stereotype is true for each individual person in the category.[2] While such generalizations may be useful when making quick decisions, they may be erroneous when applied to particular individuals.[3] Stereotypes encourage prejudice[3] and may arise for a number of reasons.

Explicit stereotypes

Explicit stereotypes are those people who are willing to verbalize and admit to other individuals. It also refers to stereotypes that one is aware that one holds, and is aware that one is using to judge people. People can attempt to consciously control the use of explicit stereotypes, even though their attempt to control may not be fully effective.