In the article titled Stereotypes: Why We Act without Thinking, the author makes an observation that stereotypes can be as useful to the same extent that they are detrimental when used in judging others. The author gives an example of the stereotypes associated with psychologists – they are nosy, and always seek to find out a lot of things about an individual. While this is a generalized point of view, it makes a lot of sense. Similarly, the author explains that, while people hold the assumption that all French people are rude, not all, actually are. To this extent, I agree with the author because, judgment should mostly be based on personality and individual character traits. Through their experiments, Burgh et al (1996) being polite or cruel depended on the conscious mind and that the unconscious mind is not a factor that one will always be faithful to. The arguments made by the author are valid as they are supported by the experimental evidence.
Worth noting is the actuality that even in real life, stereotypes do not really hold water. This is especially so when considering that the behavior of an individual is shaped more by the environment (nurture) than biological factors (nature). The most potent example is the presumption that the students of Asian origin perform poorly in English. This stereotype does not hold water because an Asian student brought up in a native English speaking context will perform better in English than a student who is born of native English parents but brought up in a foreign setting. The strengths of this article are rooted in the fact that it relies of empirical results, i.e. experimental outcomes. Ultimately, it is a matter of the balance between the conscious and the subconscious minds as dictated by circumstances and condition of the environment.
So much related to the article discussed above is another article titled When Situations Not Personality Dictate Our Behavior. Arguably the most interesting article, the author uses the prominent example of the biblical parable of the Good Samaritan. The author of the article argues that in most cases the situations we are in dictate the way we behave, more than our personality. The strength of this article lies in the fact that it uses a common example accompanied by an experiment that is so similar to the biblical example. Banking on the ideas of Darley Batson (1973), the author challenges al those that judge the priest and the temple assistant stereotypically. He argues that perhaps the priest and the temple assistant were in a hurry, and were not able to assist the Jewish man lying half dead on the ground. According to Darley Batson, the Samaritan man was in a situation that did not require any rush so he felt obliged to help.
In an experiment, 63% of the students in low hurry stopped to help a man lying down in distress. 45% of the students in medium hurry stopped to help while just 10% of the students in high hurry stooped. Only 29% of the students addressing career topics stopped to help. On the other hand, 53% of the students going to talk about the story o the Good Samaritan stopped to help. As if to back the presumption of Darley Batson, these experiments gave credence to the actuality that situations are more powerful than personality when it comes to determining human behavior. According to me, this is particularly true because I have been in such situations. I am a person who is always willing to help but when I come across situations, I simply act by the characteristics of the situation. For instance, I once came across a group of young men roughing up a high school student and probably mugging him. I thought of helping but the thought that I could also be a victim of the situation drove me away. Ultimately, the arguments of the author hold water, but bear a few weaknesses. For instance, the parable of the Good Samaritan, which is core to this article was probably a made up story meant for a simple illustration. Even so, the article is more successful than faulty.