Causal Argument First Draft – PaulaJean5

The World Around You is Creating a Biased Version of Yourself

Today, the placebo effect has been a big part of pharmaceutical trials. Placebos and their effect really only have had a place in medical facilities. But, once you dive in to the placebo effect and the way it affects our mind, there is a whole different side of placebos and the way we view them.

We are affected by unconscious forces 24/7. You may randomly be in a bad mood and not know why. This is most likely due to something you heard or saw without really taking notice to it. If you walked past a couple fighting, you may have noticed it and then let the thoughts pass. The feelings may have stayed with you , though. Although these two individuals arguing did not make you directly upset, you may have heard a word or phrase that subconsciously triggered a negative feeling in your mind. This may be because of certain stereotypes or different experiences in your life.

One study included two classes taking a standardized test. One class was asked to confirm their gender beforehand and one was asked to after. The class that got asked prior to taking the test had very interesting results. The girls in that particular class did worse than the girls in the other class while the boys did better than the others. This was due to stereotypes against certain genders. The females may have subconsciously felt inferior and created a lower self esteem before the test which led to a lower average grade than the other class. The males could have been reassured or had a boost in self esteem due to a male’s role in society being stereotypically and in some cases actually superior to a female’s. This was such a simple question yet had such an effect on their actions and results.

A lot of the things around you really impact what and how you do things.


S. (2011, June 02). Asking Students to Confirm Their Gender Before a Test Leads to Lower Scores for Girls, Higher for Boys. Retrieved February 27, 2018, from

2 thoughts on “Causal Argument First Draft – PaulaJean5”

  1. I love the direction your investigation into the placebo effect is taking, PaulaJean. Now, for some real research.

    1. Your one source is to a popular culture blog that just mentions Joshua Aronson and provides a brief excerpt of his study. (These little mentions are intriguing but almost useless as research because they cherry-pick details the blog wants to highlight in a cute opinion piece. They’re notoriously incomplete and biased.)
    2. But it contains a link to Glass Mirror where, supposedly, more information is available.
    3. The Glass Mirror post offers significantly more detail, to be sure, but its 1000 or so words are the sort of thing you should be writing yourself, with your own take, after reading Dario Cvencek and Joshua Aronson in the original, preferably his own study, but at the very least his interview with the Southern Poverty Law Center, which Glass Mirror cites and links to, and the Cvencek University of Washington study
    4. The Chicago Tribune article was a useless fluff piece, but it confirmed Dario Cvencek as the lead investigator in the University of Washington study. Google Scholar found me the study. (I’m still waiting for the Rowan Library database to respond.)
    5. It doesn’t mention the Southern Poverty Law Center, but this is the result of following a link to that supposed interview with Joshua Aronson:

    We may not have traced the intriguing details back to the original source just yet, PaulaJean, but this is the process. Work those leads back until you find the original. Read it for yourself. Discover the richness that your secondary (or later) sources omitted or glossed over. Draw your own conclusions.

    6. Here are several “hits” from a simple database search of Rowan’s Campbell Library database for Joshua Aronson gender stereotypes:!/search?ho=t&l=en&q=joshua%20aronson%20gender%20stereotypes

    He’s been involved in lots of studies, many of which would contribute to an essay about “living up” or “living down” to expectations.

    Is this helpful?


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