National Stereotypes Common, Mistaken, NIA Study Reports

October 7, 2005

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Simplified stereotypes of "typical" Americans, Brazilians, Chinese, and other groups are common but highly mistaken, according to a National Institute on Aging (NIA) study that examined the accuracy of national character stereotypes in 49 cultures worldwide. The finding has important implications regarding beliefs that characterize groups of people, including the elderly, the researchers said. The study appears in the October 7, 2005, issue of Science. The study was conducted by Antonio Terracciano, Ph.D., and Robert R. McCrae, Ph.D., investigators in the NIA's Laboratory of Personality and Cognition. Joining them were 85 colleagues from around the world who participated in the "Personality Profiles of Cultures Project", a basic research study on features of personality traits across cultures that is supported by the NIA. Read the news release .