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Dean James Ryan

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Esteemed social psychologist and author Claude Steele gave a recent talk on his theory of “stereotype threat” at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. The theory explains a universally experienced phenomenon of “underperformance” that can occur even when smart students are, in fact, prepared, or when a white-hot spotlight withers the talented.

Undermining intelligence

Negative stereotypes can lead to cognitive drain among students identifying with the groups affected, social psychologist says