Preconceived Ideas

This page was first published on the 14th of September, 2016 and last updated on the 5th of May, 2017 by Patrick Carpen.

idea photoA “preconceived idea” or “preconceived notion” is any idea or “notion” which was not formed by first examining the facts. Preconceived ideas are often formed by “hearing” things from sources you trust.


Preselling is the art of speaking highly of a product before actually introducing the product to the potential buyer.

But people do not only “presell” products; they even presell services, things or ideas.

Preselling may lead to preconceived ideas.

Preconceived ideas are sometimes based on truth. Sometimes they are based on “hype”. “Hype” means “excessive and misleading advertising”.

People often travel to foreign countries based on preconceived ideas. They get excited based on all the wonderful things they had heard about the country. A preconceived idea can be so strongly ingrained into the mind of an individual that he or she refuses to accept reality when it comes to them.

For example, someone who had migrated to a foreign country based on a preconceived idea might not be willing to accept that their idea was wrong. They might search for reasons to keep believing what they believe, and find those reasons.

Preconceived ideas often cause young men and women to look for the wrong dating partners, or avoid the right ones.

For example “American women are no good” or “Scottish men are the most romantic” are examples of preconceived ideas. The above ideas may be formed into the mind of a person after listening to stories from just a handful of people who only interacted with a few American women or Scottish men.

Preconceived ideas may lead to stereotypes. Stereotypes are ideas which put large groups of people into a category. For example “American women are no good” and “Scottish men are the most romantic” are examples of stereotypes.

Stereotypes often hurt people who fall victim to broad categorization. Here are some more examples of stereotypes which may have been formed from preconceived ideas:

Jews are greedy money-grubbers.

Muslims are terrorist.

Can you think of some others?

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