Steele, Aronson and Spencer, have examined how group stereotypes can threaten how students evaluate themselves, which then alters academic identity and intellectual performance. This social-psychological predicament can, researchers believe, beset members of any group about whom negative stereotypes exist.Steele and Aronson gave Black and White college students a half-hour test using difficult items from the verbal Graduate Record Exam (GRE). In the stereotype-threat condition, they told students the test diagnosed intellectual ability, thus potentially eliciting the stereotype that Blacks are less intelligent than Whites. In the no-stereotype-threat condition, the researchers told students that the test was a problem-solving lab task that said nothing about ability, presumably rendering stereotypes irrelevant. In the stereotype threat condition, Blacks - who were matched with Whites in their group by SAT scores -- did less well than Whites. In the no stereotype- threat condition-in which the exact same test was described as a lab task that did not indicate ability-Blacks' performance rose to match that of equally skilled Whites. Additional experiments that minimized the stereotype threat endemic to standardized tests also resulted in equal performance. One study found that when students merely recorded their race (presumably making the stereotype salient), and were not told the test was diagnostic of their ability, Blacks still performed worse than Whites.Spencer, Steele, and Diane Quinn, PhD, also found that merely telling women that a math test does not show gender differences improved their test performance. The researchers gave a math test to men and women after telling half the women that the test had shown gender differences, and telling the rest that it found none. When test administrators told women that that tests showed no gender differences, the women performed equal to men. Those who were told the test showed gender differences did significantly worse than men, just like women who were told nothing about the test. This experiment was conducted with women who were top performers in math, just as the experiments on race were conducted with strong, motivated students.
IQ test, Alfred BinetCarolDweck PHD “It’s not always the people who start out the smartest who end up the smartest”
Jane Austen Can Get You A Job
Jane Austen Can Get You A Job
Before we get to Jane, a quick
How would you describe a friend if you were
referring him or her to a potential employer?
• What he or she does best…
• The value he or she might bring an organization…
While you think, some self-serving
While some of these experiences are
more directly applicable to my
“professional career,” each have
proven to be equally valuable
Application vs. Education
While some jobs involved direct application of skills that I used in
All jobs benefited from the lessons learned and the act of learning
in previous experiences – inputs to who I am as a person
Why references? Because they are the most
powerful tool in a job search…
Compared to non-referred candidates, those who are referred are:
• Twice as likely to be interviewed
• 40% more likely to be hired
Source: New York Federal Reserve Bank
But what is a reference at its core? What
does it tell you about a person?
Application of skills?
Description of the person?
• Things he or she knows how
• How he or she works
• How he or she thinks
• Tools he or she can use
• How he or she approaches
Much of the value of references is that
they help a potential employer see you
as person, not just a set of skills
And who you are as a person is really, really
When new hires are let go within the first 18 months:
• 89% of the time it is for attitudinal reasons
• Only 11% of the time is it for lack of skill
Source: Leadership IQ
• Fallible, and so is their hiring manager
• An individual, not an example
• Evolving, not inert
You are fallible, and so is your hiring manager
Everyone fails (or should if they are really trying). So don’t be
fooled by stories of consistent success - they are incomplete.
Hindsight bias can lead people to a false narrative as to why something
positive happened – mistakes are overlooked or reframed, intelligence is
given too much credit, and the role of luck is mostly ignored
Source: Daniel Kahneman
You are an individual, not an example
Have confidence in your unique capabilities – resist shorthand
characterizations that can short-change you.
The “stereotype threat” is real – just hinting to negative stereotypes (even
requiring gender or race be selected on a test) can raise inhibiting doubts
and anxiety that have been proven to hurt a person’s performance
Source: Steele, Aronson, Spencer
You are evolving, not inert
In almost all cases, dedication and hard work can overcome innate
“With practice, training and above all, method, we manage to increase our
attention, our memory, our judgment and literally to become more intelligent
than we were before”
Source: Alfred Binet, Creator of the IQ test
To find the your personal truth:
Take something from each experience in
your life to create the narrative of your
What can you take? Here’s a place to start
And I mean all experiences
What’s the business value of an English major?
More specifically, what’s the value of reading Jane Austen?
Meet Natalie Phillips, Assistant Professor of
English at Michigan State University
A critical read of Mansfield Park is about
more than just the story
Professor Phillips instructed grad students to read a chapter of
Mansfield Park while their brain function was observed by an fMRI.
Significant differences were observed between:
• Close reading
• Reading for pleasure
Close reading was shown to be an exercise
in cognitive training
Close reading engaged a much broader spectrum of the brain,
from the regions focused on attention to those involved in
movement and touch.
The findings suggest that an academic approach to literature can
train readers to better organize information, impacting (among
other things) their:
• Attention to detail
• Research and analysis skills
• Flexibility (the ability to pay attention to many things at once)
So ask yourself:
What’s the business value of the experiences
(all of the experiences) in your life?
So ask yourself:
In an ever-changing economy where industries
are being disrupted all of the time, what are the
core attributes you can bring to any job?
And prepare for a long, rewarding career…
• Don’t be afraid of failure and don’t be limited by what others
might expect from you or what you are capable of now
• Think about your experiences as more than opportunities to
apply your skills
• Look to every experience as an opportunity to prove and
enhance the core attributes that define you as a person
To define your unique value, check out