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Stumbling and Mumbling: The power of stereotypes

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This is sad to read. In the Philippines people are labeled early on because of close family ties, where 2nd or 3rd degree relatives see each other at least once a year. One thing I observe in these awkward situation is the way people give young kids labels that tend to be based on superficial reasons that then I believe sometimes become self fulfilling.

The power of stereotypes

Reputations can be self-fulfilling prophecies ; if you give a man a bad name, he‘ll live down to it. A new paper (pdf) by Thomas Dee shows this.

He did an experiment at Swarthmore College, asking a group of students to take a GRE test. Before the test, some students were asked about their sporting activities, and whether these conflicted with their academic work, whilst others were not asked.

And Mr Dee found that the athletes who were asked these questions performed significantly worse than the athletes who weren’t.

This suggests that when people are primed to be aware of a stereotype – “jocks are dumb” – they are more likely to behave in accordance with it.

Stumbling and Mumbling: The power of stereotypes.

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