>how a self-fulfilling stereotype can drag down performance


HERE’s a trick question, so think carefully before you answer: If someone mentions the word “beast” to you, which word would you match it with?

1. Afraid. 2. Words. 3. Large. 4. Animal. 5. Separate.

A beast is an animal, of course, so what’s the trick? It’s that getting the right answer may depend on who asks you the question. Shankar Vedantam writes in the Washington Post.

Vocabulary questions like this have been routinely posed to thousands of Americans as part of the General Social Survey, a national survey that tracks societal trends. And for years, blacks have scored lower on the vocabulary test than whites.


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