The value of values affirmation in education and beyond

NeuWrite San Diego

The fields of social and cognitive psychology constantly provide examples of how small changes in the environment can impact cognition which may seem shocking in their simplicity. Cleaning one’s hands may lead to an increased feeling of moral cleanliness [1], a patch of gray may appear as much darker or lighter in brightness depending on the context [2], and visual influences on speech perception, as when the mouth of someone speaking mismatches the sound, can drastically change the sounds that we hear [3]. Perhaps, then, it should not be so surprising that a subtle change in psychological mindset, induced by a relatively short task, should be able to dramatically influence academic performance.

Several recent studies have reported just this. The performance of racial minorities in academic settings, as well as that of women in quantitative fields like math and science, are subject to stereotype threat, or, as Prof. Claude Steele…

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