After reading Rosenhan’s (1973) ‘sane in insane places’ I can agree about the dangers with labeling, and I also agree with the APA that one should always be cautious*when labeling groups during research. Even after a discussion with Dr Martin, the conclusions were that labeling is always bad, and we should never label or judge other people. We even learned from Dweck’s paper, Self Theories: The Mindset of a Champion, (2000). That learning styles are not real, they are imaginary and results of the placebo effect. And by labeling ourselves and others a learning style, we restrict our learning capacity and knowledge.
Despite all of these theories (facts) People judge and label each other all the time. We receive a first impression about someone, from their cloths, their accent, and their hobbies or just by their appearance. Judging someone takes 2 seconds, and we are not even aware of that we are doing it. It is a subconscious act of our brain. Malcolm Gladwell (2005) explains this as Rapid Cognition in his book ‘Blink’. There are lots of more books to be found on how to judge people, “read other people’s minds” and such. However, if labeling always was bad how could we justify all these books that tell us How to judge others?
Giving someone a label is always easier than to get to know someone in depth. It gives us an idea about someone and whether we a likely to like this person or not. Is he friend or enemy? Biologically this behavior of labeling could be necessary to our ancestor’s survival, instead of rushing into things out of curiosity; they labeled something as Dangerous and survived. Labeling and judging would therefore have been necessary for our survival.
* I my first entry it said “One must always be couscous”