WAS WALTER LIPPMANN INTERESTED IN STEREOTYPING? Public Opinion and Cognitive Social Psychology

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Walter Lippmann's Public Opinion is much cited but little read. A review of references to Public Opinion by social psychologists over the last 20 years reveals the widespread beliefs that (1) the book focuses primarily on group stereotypes and prejudice, and (2) the concept of stereotyping originated with Lippmann. However, stereotypes, as currently conceived-as opposed to schemata more generally-do not play a central role in the book, and Lippmann did not introduce the concept (although he may have broadened it). In addition, throughout his long and distinguished career, he showed little interest in stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination. Nonetheless, Public Opinion is a seminal work in the area of cognitive social psychology and (like other little read citation classics) still deserves to be read-including, ironically, by students of stereotyping and prejudice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7-18
Number of pages12
JournalHistory of Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2009



  • cognitive social psychology
  • stereotyping
  • Walter Lippmann

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)
  • History

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