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80 of 83 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How stereotypes affect us and what can be done about it
This book by social psychologist and Columbia University provost, Claude Steele, is a splendid example of how psychologists can make valuable contributions to society. In the book, Steele writes about the work he and his colleagues have done on a phenomenon called stereotype threat, the tendency to expect, perceive, and be influenced by negative stereotypes about one's...
Published on May 12, 2010 by Coert Visser

versus
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Lives up to its title
The underlying mechanisms of stereotypes that Steele talks about are unexpected, but seem to ring true. It is a well-written piece, based on factual research. One negative is that some examples were repeated too often, but I can see how this could help to reinforce the points. I would have liked to see a more balanced set of stereotypes, rather than mostly race and...
Published 15 months ago by RowanG


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80 of 83 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How stereotypes affect us and what can be done about it, May 12, 2010
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This review is from: Whistling Vivaldi: And Other Clues to How Stereotypes Affect Us (Issues of Our Time) (Hardcover)
This book by social psychologist and Columbia University provost, Claude Steele, is a splendid example of how psychologists can make valuable contributions to society. In the book, Steele writes about the work he and his colleagues have done on a phenomenon called stereotype threat, the tendency to expect, perceive, and be influenced by negative stereotypes about one's social category, such as one's age, sex, sexual orientation, ethnicity, profession, nationality, political affiliation, mental health status, and so on.

Experiments demonstrating the impact of stereotype threat
When trying to understand certain performance gaps between groups, Steele and his colleagues did not focus on internal psychological factors.. Instead, they tried to understand the possible causal role of identity contingencies, the things you have to deal with in a situation because you have a given social identity. Over the years they carried out a series of creative experiments* in which there was a control condition in which a task was given under normal conditions life. In the experimental condition, the identity contingency was either cleverly removed or it was deliberately induced. Here are three examples of experiments to clarify how they worked.

Experiment 1: Steele and Aronson (1995)
In this experiment the researchers had African American and white college students take a very challenging standardized test. In the control condition, the test was presented as these tests are always presented - as a measure of intellectual ability. This condition contained the stereotype that African Americans would be less intelligent. In the experimental condition the test was presented in a non-evaluative way. The test takers were told that the researchers were not interested in measuring their ability with the test but that they just wanted to use the test to examine the psychology of verbal problem solving. In the control condition, the African American test takers, on average, scored much lower than the white test takers. For the white test takers there was no difference in their scores between the control condition and the experimental condition. For the African American test takers there was a big difference between the control condition and the experimental condition. They solved about twice as many problems on the test in the experimental condition. Moreover, there was no difference between the performance of the black test takers and the white test takers.

Experiment 2: Aronson, Lustina, Good, Keough, Steele & Brown (1999)
In this experiment, the researchers asked highly competent white males to take a difficult math test. In the control condition the test was taken normally. In the experimental condition, the researchers told the test takers that one of their reasons for doing the research was to understand why Asians seemed to perform better on these tests. Thus, they artificially created a stereotype threat. In the experimental condition, the test takers solved significantly fewer of the problems on the test and felt less confident about their performance.

Experiment 3: Shih, Pittinsky & Ambady (1999)
In this experiment, a difficult math test was given to Asian women under three conditions. In condition one, they were subtly reminded of their Asian identity, in condition 2 they were subtly reminded of their female identity. In the control condition they were not reminded of their identity. The women reminded of their Asianness performed better than the control group, whereas those reminded of their female identity performed worse than the control group.

How does stereotype threat harm performance?
Today, research on stereotype threat effects is done throughout the world by many researchers. Much insight has been gained into what it is and how it works. Briefly, you know your group identity and you know how society views it. You are aware that you are doing a task for which that view is relevant. You know, at some level, that you are in a predicament: your performance could confirm a bad view of your group and of yourself as a member of that group. You may not consciously feel anxious but your blood pressure rises and you begin to sweat. Your thinking changes. Your mind starts to race: you become vigilant to all things relevant to the threat and to what your chances of avoiding it are. The book title comes from an observed behavior: an African American whistling Vivaldi to make clear that certain stereotypes attached to the group don't apply. You get some self-doubts and start to worry about how warranted the stereotype may be. You start to constantly monitor how well you are doing. You try hard to suppress threatening thoughts about not doing well or about the negative consequences of possibly failing. While you are having all of these thoughts you are distracted from the task at hand and your concentration and working memory suffer.

Does it always happen? No. There is only one prerequisite for stereotype threat to happen: the person in question must care about the performance in question. The fear of confirming the negative stereotype then becomes upsetting enough to interfere with performance. It is now known that stereotype has the strongest negative impact when people are highly motivated and performing at the frontier of their skills.

Solutions: bridging performance gaps through small interventions
Can something be done about it? Yes. The promising news is that there are some rather small interventions which can help a lot. Experiments have shown that subtly removing or preventing stereotype threats can completely or largely eliminate performance gaps between stereotyped groups and non-stereotyped groups.

Examples of helpful interventions are:
- Make it clear in the way you give critical feedback that you use high standards and let the person know that you expect him or her to be able to eventually succeed.
- Improve the number of people from the social category in the setting so that a critical mass is reached.
- Make it clear that you value diversity.
- Foster inter-group conversations and frame these as a learning experience.
- Allow the stereotyped individuals to use self-affirmations.
- Help the stereotyped individuals to develop a narrative about the setting that explains their frustrations while projecting positive engagement and success in the setting.

Conclusion
The tone of the book is informal, friendly, and personal, and the content is profound. The topic is highly relevant both to the development of social psychology and to the development of our educational systems and societies at large. Of course it also can inspire positive psychology research: how have certain individuals managed to overcome stereotype threat, how do certain organizations manage to bridge performance gaps, how do societies manage to do the same?

This review was published on Positive Psychology News Daily
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eye-Opening, Optimistic, Brilliantly Researched Look at Racism, and other Discrimination, January 12, 2011
This review is from: Whistling Vivaldi: And Other Clues to How Stereotypes Affect Us (Issues of Our Time) (Hardcover)
As a white man working around Asia, places like China, Korea and Japan, and wishing to stay here, I absolutely have to deal with the issue of race and stereotype. What may seem trivial now, as a single caucasian man, may at some point (eg. getting married, raising biracial children) become an issue for me and my family. And for anyone not living in Asia, there are class and racial divisions all over the world, as students and co-workers form cliques along predictable lines.

I remember in University, taking an Intermediate Mandarin class, where all the different ethnic and social groups would-unknowingly- cluster together perfectly: there were the white kids, the Chinese born Canadians, the Hong Kong kids, the Bi-racial kids, the Koreans, and some Philippinos. It was only several weeks into the class that I noticed these convenient groupings (I had done the exact same with my white friends). Were we racist? Were we trying to reject the other classmembers (and the Chinese teacher!)? Not at all. We enjoyed the arrangement, subconscious though it may have been.

But I do remember another class I took (briefly). It was an Asian studies course. There was one other white person in the class (phew!), and the goal of the class was to research the rich Asian influences in our community. This was a heavy course, and considered high-end credit, meaning very intensive projects. I was almost certain to be working later in Asia (that's why I signed up in the first place), but I felt like I shouldn't be there, and I felt like a fraud, that my research would be scrutinized, and my `findings' would be immediately dismissed, as they were coming from a Caucasian student. The professor and the other students couldn't have been more open and kind, but it wasn't them I was responding to, it was something else. It was a subtle pang of anxiety I felt in the class, which led me to dropping the class before the end of the second week. Admittedly, I justified it by predicting academic demise, and felt sorry for the other white student who must be going through panic attacks in that class.Years later, I wonder if he ever finished the course, or politely dropped out after I did.

Make no mistake, my goal in reviewing this book was to identify techniques to alleviate, overcome, and adapt to living in foreign countries where I feel (and expect to feel) stereotypes and discrimination. So what are people really afraid of? What is this anxiety I keep mentioning. Are my Shanghainese neighbours afraid of me? Are whites in the US really afraid of Black people? In many cases, not even slightly. What I'm talking about are nice, friendly, ambitious, successful, otherwise, well-rounded people who still feel uncomfortable around certain groups-certain races, certain genders, certain cliques. Some of the research in this book brings forward a fascinating concept: people are generally agitated by what has been dubbed "stereotype threat".

Stereotype threat means whenever you (either because you're black, or a woman, or a Lakers fan, or a Snowboarder) are in a position of being stereotyped in a negative way, you subconsciously feel this threat. In response to this threat, you subconsciously try to overcome the stereotype. So a female student taking high-level Computer Science at Harvard, will likely feel this threat (the stereotype being that women are not as good as men at math/science/computers), and it will distract them. The instinctual response is to work even harder, thus, bringing their test scores down slightly, and reinforcing the stereotype.

How do we know this is happening? Tests on various forms of stereotype threat revealed that many `threatened' students experienced higher blood pressure levels when they were under this threat, even though the students, when asked, did not report physically feeling any nervousness, or stress at all. This is totally subconscious. But the brain treats it as multitasking: not only are you focusing on this math problem, but you have to simultaneously have an internal dialogue about whether or not you even belong in this classroom. Note: this has been tested at the very best colleges in the United States (and in the poorest communities as well), and has been shown time and time again. It doesn't matter how `good' the students are, their grades take a hit whenever they're under this threat. It's shocking how clear the lines are.

And what about social situations? Well let's examine racism (since its a much bigger problem for blacks in the US, than it is for whites in, say, China). First of all, why does Racism or any other kind of discrimination exist? This one is pretty easy: because we as people come in all shapes and sizes and from myriad backgrounds, and harbour a generalized sense of insecurity that is alleviated somewhat when we meet someone who is like us in some way (what a mouthful!). Why are we insecure? Because we're human. We all have flaws; we either go crazy trying to eliminate them (perfectionism) or we learn live with it.

When someone who comes from our hometown (we see a guy with Boston Redsox cap) we feel more at ease when we're around him. There are thousands of different ways we can `classify' ourselves, and thus thousands of ways we can relate to other people to get this `insecurity relief'. But what's the ugly flipside? Thousands of ways we can separate ourselves from others. Just go online and see Windows and Mac users fighting-fighting-because of what kind of OS their computer runs. Fans of rival sports teams hate each other, and (sadly) in the midst of a heated game, will ever go to blows, which usually ends up with a trip to the hospital. Just ask soccer fans in the UK (or South America, etc). It follows that the more insecure you are about yourself, the more you're going to cling to these groups of `security'...you hate Windows users, you hate Manchester United fans, you hate the Toronto Maple Leafs. And so on. The hatred here comes from mistakenly associating anyone who is not rooting for your favourite team as somehow being against you-somehow threatening you.

So, in the case of the US, most white people don't feel much of anything, good or bad, about African Americans, but there's a few very fragile insecure white people that are totally freaked, and say lots of crazy things about black people. Interestingly, for some African Americans, the answer is not to move away from white people, but moving to a different set of white people. Like the French.

Whereas Black people in the United States have had to read about years and years of racism, and slavery, and racial violence, often from authority figures, what do many French people think of when you say "Black man"? Jazz music. That's right, right now there is a vibrant community of black people, formerly American, in Paris who, whenever they meet someone new, are delighted to be `stereotyped' as having a wonderful taste in music. Blacks in Paris have noted basically no anxiety when commuting to work, no feelings of discomfort- the stereotype threat is nowhere to be found (unless they want to visit the US for the holidays).

Is this just a black thing? No way. How would you like to be a white guy trying out for a Varsity Basketball team, with mostly black players (or Track and Field, or Football, etc). There's the stereotype staring him right in the face. And what does he do? He multitasks. The whole time he's running the floor, not only is trying to see the floor, he's avoiding getting the ball stolen, and in the back of his mind, the internal dialogue is debating whether or not he even deserves to be in this gym in the first place (just like women in Computer Science tests). His mind blanks, the ball is stolen, and three seconds later, he watches his black opponent soaring for a windmill dunk. Time to hit the showers. You think he made the team?

So it doesn't really matter what race you are, or what city you came from, there's a stereotype out there with your name on it. I suppose as a white person, I must confess, being stereotyped as bad at basketball (but great at Hockey?) is not the end of the world. Most white guys are resigned to the fact that they won't play in the NBA. But to be stereotyped as academically inferior (as many blacks in this world are) is another thing entirely. Not to be an elitist, but I don't consider a University degree to be an impossible dream. In todays workforce, getting a college education is practically a necessity (whether you're an electrician or a lawyer, its an education). Even with a college degree, the job market is extremely competitive. For many blacks, the moment they set foot in a highschool classroom, they feel the discomfort. College, where whites enter and exit without a hint of anxiety, surely the stereotype threat is even stronger. Consider the ramifications of this self-perpetuating stereotype, and how crucially important it is to understand it and overcome it.

If you want to get into this, definitely pick up the book, it's excellent. Steele has been a professor at some of the most prestigious Universities in the United States, his research is very thorough, and brilliantly written. He does list several ways to break down these stereotypes, but I want to focus on just one.

Studies have shown that many Black college students try to overcome the stereotype threat by `overworking': rather than get into groups and tackle math problems with their friends, they go back to their rooms, shut the door, and spend hours trying to figure stuff out on their own. They are essentially subconsciously saying to the `stereotype threat' "I'll show you, I don't need any stinkin help, I can figure this out on my own." Meanwhile, Asian students get into groups, and have long group study sessions. Asian students often revolve their social lives around studying (alas, I've bumped into another stereotype!), and get much higher grades, not struggling with arithmetic, but the bigger picture meaning behind the material.

When students of various backgrounds were instructed to meet and discuss campus life (eg. a mixed group), an amazing thing happened. While the whites experienced no change in grades (since they aren't negatively stereotyped in Academics), the Blacks experienced a big jump in their grades. Why? Because they were delighted to find out that whites were experiencing the same `mistreatment' from the teachers as they were! Without anyone to tell them otherwise, blacks developed the instinct that `I'm being treated this way because of the color of my skin', when if fact, Freshmen in college are generally treated like dirt, because they're Freshmen. I remember being told that I didn't know anything, and my ideas were stupid (by the head of the Economics dept. no less, ouch!), but I didn't associate that with racism. Can you imagine the crippling effect that comment would have had on a black student's psyche if he thought the head of the department was a racist?

Having an integrated dialogue is one huge way to get over the stereotype threat, and being here in China, I can tell you, you're probably not going to get much of a conversation going with a bunch of locals, if you don't speak Fluent Chinese. Think about it: without speaking Mandarin, I'm like the black guy who only checks with his black friends to verify if there's any `racism' going on. If I just ask Expats, they'll all confirm to me that, Chinese people think this way, and the best way to deal with it is like this, etc. And while there are lots of Chinese that speak English here in Shanghai, all I have to do is take a job in Hangzhou, or Chongqing, and the anxiety is back. So in a roundabout way, languages play a hugely important role here, not only in China, but Korea, Japan, and many other countries where English is just not that popular. If you don't get this dialogue going, you're only listening to the insecure voice in your head telling you to hunker down, and fight, fight, fight. Go Apple/Manchester/China/Blue Eyed People! ;)

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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Surprising, and Hopefully Useful Insight Into Our Behavior, May 1, 2010
By 
Stephanie De Pue (Wilmington, NC USA) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Whistling Vivaldi: And Other Clues to How Stereotypes Affect Us (Issues of Our Time) (Hardcover)
"Whistling Vivaldi," a new study of cultural stereotypes by Claude M. Steele, is a surprising book. Within its pages, the highly thought-of social psychologist shows us how, even in the absence of explicit racism, negative stereotypes can continue to pervade American life, and have far-reaching influences on our behavior. Before writing it, Steele did more than two decades of systematic research of minority student performance, as well as a wide range of experiments on other situations where stereotypes can come into play. He also cites, in the book, many other experiments in social psychology that explored this and related subjects: many of which he apparently inspired.

Within these pages, Steele reveals the powerful, hidden "stereotype threat" that can lie within most competitive situations. He defines it as the great, but invisible pressure created by our fear of confirming negative cultural stereotypes about ourselves. He shows how it can affect white men racing against blacks, or playing basketball against them, when blacks are thought to be fleeter of foot. It can also affect white men competing against Asians in university settings. It can also be shown to affect highly-achieving women studying mathematics or sciences, who have internalized our culture's belief that women are naturally inferior to men in these areas. He also shows that it affects higher-ranking black students in our nation's elite colleges, and even its better-ranking high schools. And he proves that, while you might think the poorer performance of black students in these situations is due to racism, or to the `usual suspects' often cited in discussions of poorly-achieving black and other minority students: broken families, lack of good role models, a background suffused with violence that denigrates education, their poor achievements can be shown to be due, also, to stereotype threat.

Steele was appointed provost of Columbia University in 2009. He had been teaching at Stanford University since 1991; while there he served both as chair of the psychology department and as director of Stanford's Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences. He has also taught at the University of Michigan, the University of Washington, and the University of Utah. He earned his doctorate in social psychology from Ohio State University, and holds honorary doctorates from Princeton, Yale, and the University of Chicago.

"Whistling Vivaldi," however, goes beyond merely identifying and proving the problem of "stereotype threat." Yet it is written in easy to follow English, rather than dense academica, and is a fast, and not difficult, read. Its author shows that interventions are possible in this negative process that can show positive results for years, maybe even entire college careers. And these interventions are neither costly, nor difficult, to implement. Let's hope the book reaches, and influences, the audience it deserves.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for all educators and those interested in school reform..., April 27, 2010
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This review is from: Whistling Vivaldi: And Other Clues to How Stereotypes Affect Us (Issues of Our Time) (Hardcover)
Whistling Vivaldi And Other Clues to How Stereotypes Affect Us, the eagerly anticipated book by scholar Claude Steele is a must read for any educator, but it has implications that reach far beyond that domain. Like chicken soup for the soul of the critically thinking change maker, Whistling Vivaldi offers valuable new insights that will help to complicate our thinking and the frames we use to structure the discourse about the challenges of living in a diverse society. As we as a nation struggle to reap the promise of true democracy this seminal text by Dr. Steele can help us move beyond the well trodden paths of discussion that lead us to nowhere.

In order to craft viable solutions to many of the vexing problems in education we need to transcend the orthodoxy of the left and the right in order reframe the conversation such that we can see the issues in a more complex framework than where they typically reside.

While there are many generative frames presented in this book that are worthy of much conversation and reflection, the basic premise that "who" we are does matter is a simple but critical conceptual reframing of the classroom. Rather than stay tied to maladaptive coping strategies like "color blind" approaches to teaching, which assume that we all have the same experiences and that aspects of our identity such as "race" or gender among others are neutral categories, he suggests that we can take these into account and that by doing so we can create a more effective teaching environment for all students.

This body of work also suggests that our national obsession with school reform tied to "standardized assessments" may indeed be misguided. While not and argument against assessment, this text suggest that these standardized measures may be only partial measures and may indeed serve as an impediment to many students moving forward in their educational trajectories.

Perhaps, rather than funneling more resources into kill and drill test prep, taking time away from more meaningful instruction, or blaming children, the communities they come from or the teachers themselves for schools' failure, we might be better served by taking a step back and reconceptualizing what isn't working and asking new questions as to the "why."

For those of us working in the trenches to improve the education of all children, I thank you for this valuable contribution; it's truly a breath of fresh air and a well needed reframing.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stereotype Crashing, August 16, 2010
By 
This review is from: Whistling Vivaldi: And Other Clues to How Stereotypes Affect Us (Issues of Our Time) (Hardcover)
"Whistling Vivaldi" means performing an action in an attempt to deflect a stereotype. It is a coined phrase by Steele that references a story of a black man walking in Hyde Park, noticing that the color of his skin is making other people nervous, starts whistling Vivaldi, and so disarms the residents.

Revealing insights are here from an elected member of the National Academy of Science. We all know what stereotypes are, but how do they affect us on an unconscious level? How can they be mitigated on a personal level? How can they be rectified on the group level? The answers and the directions to those answers from the latest experiments are here.

By their nature, steroetypes are upheld by the society at large, and that they affect the actions of the individual citizen. This is proven by showing that other countries have different or certain absent stereotypes, and the individual outcomes are quite different.

Also, stereotypes don't have to have 'any' basis in actuality, but become a reality by agreement. So the steps out of the pitfalls of stereotypes have to do with changing agreement.

On a personal level this can be done by first of all knowing that when someone knows you better, they judge you much less on the stereotype crutch way of thinking. We can find role models who have succeeded against all stereotypical injunction to do otherwise, but that share our stereotype. We can change our personal definition of our ability from as being a 'fixed amount' in us, to one that can get incrementally better.

On a group level, we can foster diversity. As far as racial diversity goes, just seeing that a group has various successful members from different racial backgrounds is enough to offset some of the negative tension of stereotyping.

On any level, re-framing the task, test or paradigm is key. Just by labeling an activity as being bested by intellectuals, athletes, mathematicians, skinny people, young, old, the poor or wealthy, performance is enhanced or diminished.

On a counterintuitive note, Steele suggests that someone who is at war with their ingrained inner stereotypes may just be the activists in our society who are trying to couteract them. Someone without the inner racial stereotype dilemma may not have the passion to do the same.

I found this book helpful, current, relevant and on target.

On a personal note I am thinking that if we identified ourselves more so as spiritual beings who have a body, rather than are the body (with its attendant stereotypes) which has a soul (or not), we might hold fewer stereotypes and be affected by them to a lesser degree. It might be a more effective paradigm.

Great book, other very good reviews here on the actual experiments so no need for duplication.

Five Stars
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eye opening book, May 29, 2012
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I teach at a University and have long been puzzled by why seemingly well prepared students of color and women fail to succeed in science. This book certainly opened my eyes to possibilities that I never considered and has changed the way I approach teaching science.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Lives up to its title, August 29, 2013
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The underlying mechanisms of stereotypes that Steele talks about are unexpected, but seem to ring true. It is a well-written piece, based on factual research. One negative is that some examples were repeated too often, but I can see how this could help to reinforce the points. I would have liked to see a more balanced set of stereotypes, rather than mostly race and gender (there are so many to choose from). The authenticity of the author does shine through, and the subject matter is close to his heart.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential reading for multiple audiences, August 7, 2010
This review is from: Whistling Vivaldi: And Other Clues to How Stereotypes Affect Us (Issues of Our Time) (Hardcover)
After taking several doctoral level courses in psychology, conducting my own research and reading widely, I wondered what could be new and exciting about the psychology of stereotypes. Previous researchers have emphasized cognitive aspects of stereotyping, e.g., the fact that we are "cognitive misers" who look for shortcuts to save effort in our thinking.

I hadn't heard of the phenomenon of "stereotype threat," but it's a real breakthrough in research. For example, when you increase awareness of gender, women will achieve lesser outcomes on math tests. Stereotype threat can be enhanced simply by asking people to write down their gender before taking a test. It's especially powerful when an environment is saturated with cues that signal, "You're an outsider."

This book will appeal to three audiences.

First, many readers simply enjoy reading about psychology. If you liked Blink, you'll probably like this book. Steele's book emphasizes academic experiences rather than everyday experiences. However, he doesn't write like an academic and I found the book totally engaging and hard to put down.

Second, university administrators can apply many lessons from this book. Steele identified and tested a number of interventions to counter the stereotype effect.

Finally, I'd recommend this book to psychology majors as an introduction to research. Many people think research is dull and dry, yet in fact research can be enjoyable as well as rewarding.

As we all know, it's easier to study students than any other population. I can't help wishing we would see research in other contexts. For example, many jurisdictions treat the over-60 or over-65 population differently - everything from extra requirements for driving tests to passes on public transportation. If you have to see a bus pass labeled "senior" every time you go downtown, your age becomes especially salient. What's interesting about age is that many people - even employers - are comfortable making statements about "older people," while they'd never think - let alone say aloud - negative comments based on race, gender, or ethnicity.

I also wonder if people are affected differently by external cues. For instance, low self-monitors and mavericks may be less concerned with conforming. I'd also wonder if exposure to a protected environment acts as an inoculation against future threats or leads to greater vulnerability. For instance, all-female colleges or predominantly African-American colleges should encourage high performance among their students, who would not experience a threatened identity as undergraduates. Are these students at a disadvantage or an advantage as they move to careers and graduate schools?

A stimulating and provocative book that deserves a wider audience.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved This Book!, August 25, 2010
This review is from: Whistling Vivaldi: And Other Clues to How Stereotypes Affect Us (Issues of Our Time) (Hardcover)
This is a great book - a page-turner! Read it and wash away your guilt and worries about your own racism and stereotyping. Instead of feeling guilty, learn why you feel uncomfortable around someone of another identity group. And then think about your interactions differently, relax, and go out and enjoy the diversity this great country offers!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Analyzes Stereotype Caused Damages and Offers Solutions, October 30, 2012
By 
Steele starts with a seemingly implausible hypothesis -- the psychic cost of anxiety of being a marginalized person -- results in systemic underperformance by the marginalized thus 'confirming' in some sense society's prejudices. Steele's outlines a career of social science research that generalized this observation, and brought it into better focus using ingeniously designed experiments. The most interesting part of the book is that he discusses how teachers or just anyone can improve their interactions and even be helpful to people who have difficulty realizing their full potential because of the performance anxiety associated with being a member of a group expected to fail in a certain type of endeavor.
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