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RTI/CCP/ELL Professional Development With UW-Eau Claire and the Eau Claire Area School District “The Power of the Subconscious Mind: How people can inadvertently.

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Presentation on theme: "RTI/CCP/ELL Professional Development With UW-Eau Claire and the Eau Claire Area School District “The Power of the Subconscious Mind: How people can inadvertently."— Presentation transcript:

1 RTI/CCP/ELL Professional Development With UW-Eau Claire and the Eau Claire Area School District “The Power of the Subconscious Mind: How people can inadvertently alter outcomes for other people” June 16, 2009 Aram deKoven UW-Eau Claire

2 Objectives: To reveal that racism is alive and well in the United States today To demonstrate that the subconscious is a powerful cognitive force To show how subconsciously held biases can effect how you treat others To explain how the effects of subconscious biases can change outcomes for others

3 FBI Data on hate crimes in the U.S. Incidents Fewer hate crimes now since the 50, 60, and 70s but 2005……..7, ……..7, ……..7,624 *The FBI numbers only reflect reported acts of violence and aggression

4 Southern Poverty Law Center “The Southern Poverty Law Center has documented 926 hate groups operating in our country — a more than 50% increase since 2000.” “Impossible to accurately record the number of hate crimes” Mark Potock, SPLC

5 The reporting of hate crimes in the media Only the most egregious of hate crimes get reported Many don’t even make headlines Leaving the public, especially white members of the public to believe that hate crimes are down or done with altogether The election of President Obama

6 Conscious Acts of Racism Subconscious Acts of Racism

7 What is consciousness? Consciousness is a quality of the mind generally regarded to comprise qualities such as subjectivity, self-awareness, sentience, and the ability to perceive the relationship between oneself and one's environment.mindsubjectivityself-awareness sentienceperceiveoneselfenvironment

8 Control When the thought is subconscious then you can’t modify or control for its effects Once it becomes conscious then you can work with it (if you want to) If you can talk, write, or think about “it” then it is conscious

9 What do you see here?

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11 Psychological tactic called: Priming Five words sets: Make a grammatical sentence out of each: “Scrambled sentence test”. him was chocolate she always from are Florida oranges temperature ball the throw time bread Wendys give replace old the he observes occasionally ice cream

12 Priming Students thought they came to take a simple word test In fact they were tricked and “primed” to feel what? a) Old b) Sleepy c) Hungry d) Pretty

13 John Barge Experiment “Priming” Two groups of undergraduates used as subjects All received scrambled sentence tests Two groups with words mixed in like: A) Rude, impatient, interrupt, aggressive, bother B) Respect, considerate, yield, polite, courteous

14 John Barge Experiment After subjects took the word puzzle they where then told to talk to someone else in another office down the hall to get the next steps in the study In all cases, that someone else that subjects were to talk with was always busy talking to someone else A confederate (an actor) recorded how subjects in each of the two groups behaved while waiting to speak to the person they had to speak with What do you think they found?

15 What do you think? How did subjects act while waiting to speak to the person they were “told to speak with” Group A) Primed with: Rude, impatient, interrupt, aggressive, bother B) Primed with: Respect, considerate yield, polite, courteous

16 Results +Primed with rude words: interrupted on average before 5 minutes +Primed with polite words: 82% never interrupted at all (experiments ended after ten minutes)

17 How Powerful Is Our Subconscious Mind? I can make you less likely to fight by changing the color of the walls I can make you more productive at work by changing the brightness of the lights I can make you spend more money by playing certain music I can guess who you will hire for a job based on the name of the applicant

18 Let us make a connection… You now know that subtle and subconscious messages are able to affect your thinking and behavior (these effects can be seen in very short periods of time) Now think about what the cumulative effect is for feeling, seeing, and hearing messages about a group of people Where in society do these implicit and explicit messages come from?

19 Hidden Racism “Yeah I just found out the Cleopatra was actually a Black woman.” “What?” “That can’t be true, Cleopatra was beautiful!” (p124) 85-90% of the white population say that they are not racially biased but Dovidio and Gaertner are concerned that they may be acting in another way, a way that is not supportive of diversity. (page 133)

20 More evidence for the fact that what we say doesn’t always translate into what we do! Dating….. On popular dating sites like match.com about 50% of white women and 80% of white men state that “race is not important” However, 90% of these men sent s only to white females and of the white females 97% sent only to white men oS.D. Leveitt and S. J. Dubner

21 Are environmental and social factors a kind of priming? Yes! The mind silently crunches all the data we take in from all the books, the TV shows, music we hear, people we meet, lessons we have learned, movies we have seen, and from the places that we have been and this information is used to form an opinion or a feeling. From these sources we learn about the people of this world and about ourselves. In some cases we do not know that these opinions even exist in our minds, and in some cases we do not know how they play out in the way we act toward others.

22 Now Lets Connect All the Parts…. Do all people have subconscious thoughts? Yes Are these thoughts powerful enough to change your behaviors? Yes ( Especially so when pressed for time…the brain automatically reverts to the subconscious when stressed or pressed for time) Subconscious biases can impact the way one treats people, without even knowing it Social and environmental factors can act as a sort of “priming” that send people messages about who they are and how much they are valued by society

23 Why do teachers especially need to be in contact with their subconscious? Education holds (some of) the keys to breaking free from poverty and oppression….. “The Good Life” Teachers are one of the first gate keepers Teachers can inadvertently suppress the creativity, productivity, and intellect of a student How can they do that?

24 Self Fulfilling Prophecy Study Done By: Jacobson and Rosenthal “Harvard Acquisition of Knowledge” Teachers told who did well and who did not Results were bogus, actually subjects were randomly assigned a group Actual test at the end of the year produced significant and real differences in actual learning

25 What did the researchers observe? Teachers held higher expectations and demanded more of students who they thought were smarter Teachers treated students differently who they thought were smarter Climate: warm and supportive Input: taught more material Response: given more air-time in class Feedback: more detailed feedback

26 If a teacher’s first impressions are positive, then this will help the student succeed. However, if the teacher has negative first impressions then the student will suffer. If teacher’s treatment of the student is consistent over time, then the student’s behavior will reflect the teacher’s expectations Teachers form first impressions of students almost immediately, causing some students to start at an advantage over other students. Gender Race Dialects Body build Physical attractiveness Beauty Socio economic status Language skills

27 It is simply not enough to say that we are “not racist”, we need to be “actively anti racist”. –B. Tatum The hints of unchecked prejudice and racism can be seen in much more subtle acts like: Posture eye contact laughter Hesitation fidgeting Silence and/or wait time Arms crossed This in turn effects the person you are communicating with and they then feel uncomfortable or undervalued…and they may then treat you differently…and cycle continues.

28 What can you do? Acknowledge the power of the subconscious Acknowledge that it is difficult to be in touch fully with your subconscious Admit that people have biases Seek to be “color conscious” not “color blind” Try to know your biases With others or on your own seek to understand where these hidden biases originated Simply knowing your biases is a good start

29 …..more you can do Remember, once you know you are being “primed” it doesn't work anymore Meet, work with, play with, and get to know people from a wide variety of backgrounds Be reflective and contemplative Turn off the emotional and intellectual autopilot

30 Questions


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