Vortrag: “Americans’ perceptions of Europeans”

Americans have historically had a great interest in Europe and European nations. About three quarters of the population of the United States is made up of descendents of European immigrants, although this percentage is shrinking. The media provide the average American citizen with limited information about Europe, which may in part explain the persistence of old stereotypes. How are Europeans perceived today? I conducted a small study on a university campus to see how today’s college students perceive Europeans in general and people from three specific European nations, namely France, Germany, and Italy. The study was set up along the lines of the “Stereotype Content Model,” which assumes that most stereotypes involve perceptions of warmth and perceptions of competence. Following research on Europeans’ perceptions of Americans, perceptions of arrogance were also included. In general, the results showed that Americans perceive the three European target nations in distinctive ways. In contrast, they do not seem to have a unique stereotype of Europeans. Instead, they perceive Europeans in terms of the national group that comes to mind first, namely the French.