Currently reading Blink, which I highly recommend, and I came across and interesting bit of information that I felt needed to be shared. If you have thoughts on the matter, I encourage you to share:
The psychologist Claude Steele and Joshua Aronson created an experiment using black college students and twenty questions taken from the GRE. The experiment was to measure how the human psyche would be effected after being subconsciously exposed to words of negative connotation.
“When the students were asked to identify their race on a pretest questionnaire, that simple act was sufficient to prime them with all the negative stereotypes associated with African Americans and academic achievement – and the number of items they got right was cut in half. As a society, we place enormous faith in test because we think that they are a reliable indicator of the test taker’s ability and knowledge. But are they really? If a white student from a prestigious private high school gets a higher SAT score than a black student from an inner-city school, is it because she’s truly a better student, or is it because to be white and to attend a prestigious high school is to be constantly primed with the idea of ‘smart'”
Book: Blink: The power of thinking without thinking
Author: Malcolm Gladwell