Years ago I read something that hasn't let go of me since. It was a couple of pages in Predictably Irrational where he described an experiment with a group of Asian girls given a test in mathematics. The thing is that Asian girls belong to two oppositely stereotyped groups.
Chapter 1 In Whistling Vivaldi, Claude Steele describes the powerful role that stereotypes play in human behavior. He begins by recalling his childhood in s Chicago, and the day when he first truly became aware that he was black.
Steele tried to get into a public swimming pool, but was told that the pool was only open to white people that day. Human beings judge one another according to their identities—not just their race but their class, their age, their health, etc.
For more than twenty years, Steele has conducted psychological research suggesting that the mere threat of a stereotype is so powerful that it can change human behavior. Steele began researching the impact of stereotypes on behavior in the s, when he was beginning his career as a professor at the University of Michigan.
Black students generally underperformed on tests, and also associated primarily with other black students. They often felt that their white professors and classmates were treating them condescendingly, or accidentally making offensive remarks.
At the time, there were many academics who were willing to entertain the possibility that certain groups of people were simply mentally inferior to other groups, for genetic reasons. Spencer and Steele hypothesized that just the threat of conforming to a stereotype could distract minority students, leading to poor performance on an exam.
They found that when women were instructed to take a math test that claimed to measure intellectual capability, they performed well below men. Steele interpreted this finding to mean that the threat of conforming to a stereotype—i.
However, Steel recognized that more research was needed. Over the next few years, Steele and his colleagues developed other experiments, suggesting that the threat of a stereotype was an important factor in reducing the performance of many different groups, not just women. Other social psychologists produced similar results for working-class people, Asian-Americans, the elderly, the other heavily stereotyped groups.
After Steele moved from Michigan to Stanford, he and some of his students created an experiment measuring the stereotype threat on inner-city high school students.
They concluded that stereotype threats were particular impactful for the most motivated, intelligent test-takers subject to that stereotype. Steele was slowly painting a picture of stereotyping very different from the one found in most psychological literature at the time.
Steele, on the other hand, argued that stereotype threats manifested themselves in highly specific environmental cues, which could be measured and, in theory, canceled out with other environmental cues.
Around the same time, other social psychologists were conducting research suggesting that human beings have an innate need to divide one another into groups, and favor members of their own group over others. In the second half of the book, Steele details some of the ways that teachers and policymakers might curb the influence of stereotypes.
Studies have found that minority students often push themselves too hard, and are less likely to collaborate with their peers. To cancel out some of the physiological effects of stereotyping, Steele researched self-affirmation theory. According to this theory, minorities can partly overcome the influence of many stereotype threats by focusing on their values and hard work, and consciously accepting that stereotypes are a part of their reality.
Steele makes an analogy: By the same logic, teachers may not be able to correct for centuries of racism or sexism, but they can take simple steps to ensure that their students are partly shielded from the influence of stereotyping. Steele ends by discussing the election of Barack Obama in Cite This Page Choose citation style:In Whistling Vivaldi, Claude Steele doesn’t just diagnose the problems of stereotyping.
He also goes on to recommend some of the ways that teachers, parents, and policymakers might fight the . Whistling Vivaldi: How Stereotypes Affect Us and What We Can Do The acclaimed social psychologist offers an insider’s look at his research and groundbreaking findings on stereotypes and identity.
Claude M. Steele, who has been called “one of the few great social psychologists,” offers a vivid first-person account of the research that supports 5/5(3).
Whistling Vivaldi: And Other Clues to How Stereotypes Affect Us (Issues of Our Time) - Kindle edition by Claude Steele.
Download it once and read it on your Kindle device, PC, phones or tablets.
Use features like bookmarks, note taking and highlighting while reading Whistling Vivaldi: And Other Clues to How Stereotypes Affect Us (Issues of Our Time).Reviews: Nov 21, · Fr33 D0nwL04d Whistling Vivaldi: How Stereotypes Affect Us and What We Can Do (Issues of Our Time).
Auto Suggestions are available once you type at least 3 letters. Use up arrow (for mozilla firefox browser alt+up arrow) and down arrow (for mozilla firefox browser alt+down arrow) to review and enter to select.5/5(3). Dec 10, · Claude Steele - "Whistling Vivaldi: How Stereotypes Affect Us and What We Can Do" - Family Action Network.