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Whistling Vivaldi: And Other Clues to How Stereotypes Affect Us (Issues of Our Time)

Whistling Vivaldi: And Other Clues to How Stereotypes Affect Us (Issues of Our Time) Cover

ISBN13: 9780393062496
ISBN10: 039306249x
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Through dramatic personal stories, Claude Steele shares the experiments and studies that show, again and again, that exposing subjects to stereotypes—merely reminding a group of female math majors about to take a math test, for example, that women are considered naturally inferior to men at math—impairs their performance in the area affected by the stereotype. Steele’s conclusions shed new light on a host of American social phenomena, from the racial and gender gaps in standardized test scores to the belief in the superior athletic prowess of black men. Steele explicates the dilemmas that arise in every American’s life around issues of identity, from the white student whose grades drop steadily in his African American Studies class to the female engineering students deciding whether or not to attend predominantly male professional conferences. Whistling Vivaldi offers insight into how we form our senses of identity and ultimately lays out a plan for mitigating the negative effects of “stereotype threat” and reshaping American identities.

Book News Annotation:

Steele (Columbia U.) explores what he and other social psychologists call identity contingencies, which are matters that people must deal with because they have a given social identity based on race, gender, size, age, politics, language, economic or health condition, or other characteristics that they cannot control. Simply, he says, they are conditions or obstacles that people must overcome in order to get what they want. His discussion include the mysterious link between identity and intellectual performance, identity threat and the efforting life, the many experiences of stereotype threat, the role of cues in the strength of stereotype threat, reducing identity and stereotype threat, and identity as a bridge between people. Annotation ©2010 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (


Acclaimed social psychologist Claude Steele offers an insider’s look at his groundbreaking findings on stereotypes and identity.

About the Author

Claude Steele is the provost of Columbia University. He is the author of numerous published articles and is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Education, the American Philosophical Society, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.Henry Louis Gates Jr. (Ph.D. Cambridge) is Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and Director, W. E. B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research, at Harvard University. He is the author of Figures in Black: Words, Signs, and the Racial Self; The Signifying Monkey: A Theory of Afro-American Criticism; Loose Canons: Notes on the Culture Wars; Colored People: A Memoir; The Future of Race (with Cornel West); Wonders of the African World; Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Black Man; and America Behind the Color Line: Dialogues with African Americans. He is general editor (with the late Nellie Y. McKay) of The Norton Anthology of African American Literature; editor-in-chief of the Oxford African American Studies Center (online); editor of The African-American Century (with Cornel West); Encarta Africana (with Kwame Anthony Appiah); and The Bondwoman's Narrative by Hannah Craft; African American National Biography (with Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham) and The Annotated Uncle Tom's Cabin (with Hollis Robbins). For PBS, Professor Gates has written and produced several documentaries, among them African American Lives, series 1 and 2, and America Behind the Color Line.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

Rita, December 12, 2010 (view all comments by Rita)
Every educator, every parent should read this book. Claude Steele (who has been writing on this topic for years) finally pulls together all his (and others') research about how we can diminish the 'achievement gap' and improve our educational system overall. This is a paradigm shifting book.
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elizabethh, August 10, 2010 (view all comments by elizabethh)
Reading this book, I felt that everyone should read it. Everyone. Teachers and HR people and parents. Men, women, young, old, people of all backgrounds and experiences. It lays out the ways that when we think we're all experiencing the same setting, things may be very different depending on our identity and we may be creating or experiencing threats to those identities that are taxing our brains, our performance in school and work, even our longterm health. And this is not a "minority problem"--this is something that we may all experience at one time or another and that affects us as individuals and vitally as a society. We need to understand this research and its implications and this is the book to explain it to us.

Read this book!
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Product Details

And Other Clues to How Stereotypes Affect Us
W. W. Norton & Company
Gates, Henry Louis, Jr.
Steele, Claude
eele, Claude M.
Steele, Claude M.
Gates, Henry Louis
Sociology - General
Social Psychology
Stereotypes (Social psychology)
Group identity
Psychology : General
Edition Description:
Norton Hardcover
Issues of Our Time Series
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
8.6 x 5.9 x 1 in 0.895 lb

Related Subjects

Engineering » Engineering » General Engineering
Health and Self-Help » Psychology » General
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History and Social Science » Sociology » General
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Whistling Vivaldi: And Other Clues to How Stereotypes Affect Us (Issues of Our Time)
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Product details 256 pages W. W. Norton & Company - English 9780393062496 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , Acclaimed social psychologist Claude Steele offers an insider’s look at his groundbreaking findings on stereotypes and identity.
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