Part 1:

Part of effective communication is understanding yourself and others. In this Unit, we are going to discuss a scenario which will require you to think about stereotyping and how (or if) this plays a role in your decisions.

Imagine you are on a subway platform in a very large city. You absolutely have to get on the next subway train but suddenly realize you either forgot or lost your money. You cannot use an ATM or go back to get money. There are other people on the platform with you, represented by the photos below. Look at each of these photos and determine which person or group of people you would approach to ask for $2 to get a subway ticket. You will not be able to pay this person back.

1) How would you approach any one of these people and what would you communicate to them?

2) Explain why you selected the one you did and why you did not choose to approach the others.

3) Have you ever been stereotyped; if so, in what context/situation?


A: Family traveling together and waiting.


B: Two young ladies waiting.


C: Various individuals of a different culture waiting together.


D: Man quietly waiting with his cat.


E: Tourists waiting on the train.

Part 2

These examples should be evidence that what you first see is not necessarily all there is to see. What you see depends on how you organize or attend to the stimuli in the figures. We use these same principles to generalize and organize our impressions of people to make sense of their behaviors and to communicate with them.

1) Provide a brief example of how we might notice something about someone in our current or future career, then we assign other characteristics to them without actually interacting, and how those assumptions could cause problems

2) Explain how that situation could have been avoided

For example, an instructor sees a student who is paying attention in class, so the instructor assumes this is a good student who doesn’t need any help. The instructor later learns that the student is paying attention, but doesn’t actually understand the lesson and eventually fails the test. This could have been avoided if the instructor asked the student a question relating to the lesson in order to determine if the student understood.

Object 1: Ambiguous Figures: You might see a word…or other objects.


Object 2: Ambiguous Figures: There are two people in this picture.


Object 3: Ambiguous Figures. You might see a face…or a woman walking.