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Friday, April 18, 2008


For the Welfare of Persons with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation & Multiple Disabilities
(A Statutory Body under the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment, Government of India)

9th Floor, Jeevan Prakash Building, Kasturba Gandhi Marg, New Delhi – 110 001
Tel : 23766898-99 & 43520861-64, Fax : 23731648

In its endevour to Discover Ability

Invites Applications form individuals/ organisations working for the welfare of persons with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation & Multiple Disabilities.


Disability issues & movement in the country have fast evolved from the traditional/religious model to charity & social models and now to a human rights model where it is no longer an issue of pity or charity but an issue of human dignity & independence. It is no longer an act of social benevolence but a matter of right that environmental & attitudinal barriers are removed. It is neither a matter of chance nor sympathy rather the persons with disability have the right to be included in schools, job establishments etc, and the right to access to public buildings, public transports and information. It is in the light of this paradigm shift and the consequent need to recognize excellence, to encourage voluntarism and to promote best practices in the disability sector that the National Trust Annual Awards are instituted.

There are different categories for the Annual Awards (as detailed at Annexure A) which range from individual categories to institutional categories with suitable amendments from time to time in order to align with the changing needs and to focus on priority areas.

(i) Disability for the purpose of Awards shall be limited to disabilities under the National Trust Act.
(ii) All individuals/ organizations who work for the welfare of persons with disabilities shall be eligible, but in case of organizations registered with the National Trust, such registration should have been on or before the last date of the preceding financial year.
(iii) There shall be no age bar.

(i) Applications / nominations shall be invited every year through advertisement in the newspaper.
(ii) Applicants will be required to submit their applications in the prescribed format as given at Annexure B.
(iii) Any applicant can apply for a maximum of two Awards.
(iv) Applications can be submitted directly to the National Trust on or before the last date prescribed.
(v) The National Trust may also nominate, at any later stage, any individual/ organization based on its internal assessment for consideration under any category of Award.

(i) There shall be a common Selection Committee for all the categories of the Awards. The Committee shall consist of members of the Board of the National Trust and representatives from registered organizations, parents and persons with disabilities.
(ii) The selection in each category of Awards shall be based on selection criteria as laid down in Annexure C and also as mentioned herein below.
(iii) Special Weightage will be given to recommendations from the authorities as mentioned at Annexure D
(iv) Weightage will also be given to maintain regional balance, urban-rural balance and disability balance.
(v) In case the applications received are below acceptable standards the Selection Committee may also decide not to recommend any winner in that particular category.

For more details please refer this link:

The last date for receipt of application is 7th May, 2008.

Application format and details terms & conditions etc. canbe downloadd from their website. for any information/clarification pleact contact:

Deputy Director (Programme)
9th Floor, Jeevan Prakash Building, Kasturba Gandhi Marg, New Delhi – 110 001
Tel : 23766898-99 & 43520861-64, Fax : 23731648

WHO Cares for HIV/AIDS

WHO Cares for HIV/AIDS

With its unique integrated management approach, WHO is reaching out to the rural HIV population. Nancy Singh highlights this unique strategy

You must have noticed the superstars of Hollywood and Bollywood sashaying across Indian streets to spread awareness about HIV and a battery of journalists and cameramen following them for a sound-byte. In this jamboree, the level to which the star has successfully managed to spread awareness about the real issue is questionable. But another important issue is how many residing in rural India, that has a bulk of HIV load, have even heard of this dramatised message. It is then that we realise and appreciate the importance of groundwork done by organisations like World Health Organisation (WHO) in nondescript villages in the districts of Davangere (Karnataka) and Karur (Tamil Nadu).

Says Dr L Ramakrishnan, Country Director, Programmes and Research, Solidarity and Action Against the HIV Infection in India (SAATHII), an NGO executing the WHO project, "Tamil Nadu has the maximum number of documented AIDS cases, in spite of wide Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART) access. Access to treatment is largely restricted to urban populations, and HIV positive people from rural areas, often with limited financial resources, are forced to travel long distances to access treatment, care and support services."

Taking Care Deeper
India has the highest burden of Persons Living with HIV/AIDS (PLHA) in Asia, and third in the world with 2.5 million (UNAIDS 2007). Although the Indian HIV epidemic shows a stabilising of the epidemic trend, it is estimated that the need for HIV and ART care will increase as people infected about eight years ago will now start developing HIV/AIDS-related illnesses. Although the National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) is scaling up its care and treatment programme to 147 ART centres nationally, the delivery of HIV care at district and sub-district level (primary healthcare level) is still inadequate, the WHO has found.

As part of de-centralisation of HIV services, Integrated Counselling and Testing Centre (ICTC) and Prevention of Parent To Child Transmission (PPTCT) services are established at district and sub-district levels, up to taluk, Community Health Centres (CHC) and 24-hour Primary Health Centres (PHC) in these two states. It was envisioned that the Integrated Management of Adult and Adolescent Illness (IMAI) training will support primary care management and allow most care, treatment and prevention to be delivered near the patient's home. IMAI is a training package developed by the WHO, which has been implemented extensively in African and Asian countries. Karur and Davangere are the first two districts selected for implementation in India, following country-specific adaptation by the WHO and state partners. Adapted materials have also been translated into Tamil and Kannada. The main purpose is that busy primary care providers should be able to manage most of the simple problems, while referring more complicated cases to the district hospital or ART centre if there is one.

Holistic Approach:
Under the leadership of the state governments of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, and day-to-day supervision by the Karnataka State AIDS Control Society (KSAPS) and Tamil Nadu State AIDS Control Society (TNSACS) and their technical partners, this innovative project to mainstream HIV into the general health services and strengthen district healthcare was initiated in April 2007. Under this plan, a total of 159 doctors and 448 paramedical staff from the two districts' primary health centres and general hospitals underwent training in specific modules since April 2006. "The IMAI project in India is a capacity building project to mainstream and integrate HIV into the district and sub-district level primary health systems," says Dr Po Lin Chan, Country Officer, WHO. IMAI uses a standardised training package to train healthcare providers such as doctors, nurses, counsellors, laboratory technicians, peer educators, and Auxiliary Nurse Midwives (ANM) who each have a role in the delivery of specific HIV/AIDS care in their normal routine work.

The IMAI training covers a whole range of HIV/AIDS-related prevention, care, support and treatment issues from clinical aspects such as treatment of acute conditions and opportunistic infections (like fever, diarrhoea, respiratory complaints, reproductive tract symptoms, and malnutrition) , to basic understanding of ART, skills for counselling, adherence support and palliative care with prevention integrated throughout. It incorporates chronic care principles which are relevant to not just HIV, but also the management of diabetes, hypertension, epilepsy, other chronic blood diseases like thalassaemia, cancers etc. "It emphasises core competencies and skill-based learning. It trains the healthcare provider in a structured method to approach a patient, be it HIV or non-HIV, in a holistic way," says Dr Chan.

The best part about IMAI is that it's not just another regular training course that creates awareness and attempts to sensitise the caretakers on HIV. The IMAI uses the 'user of the health system' i.e. patients/PLHAs in the training of healthcare providers. "Today, our system is too verticalised and nobody has a team approach. Training programmes won't help as they are all forgotten once they are over. We know from past experience in training in many health programmes that despite the investment in training and capacity building, linkage and referrals between the healthcare services and community still do not routinely happen," says Dr Chan. After much brainstorming and examining the ground situation, WHO came up with a set of training methods that would make an impact and be fruitful as well. The approach of IMAI is unique.

The use of Expert-Patient Trainers (EPT): It involves training given by people living with AIDS as 'experts.' Their own illness is used as a valuable education strategy to support training of healthcare workers. "In the IMAI project, district-based AIDS patients are trained to play specific cases with the course participants during skill stations, in addition to joining small group discussions during the interactive classroom training," says Dr Ramakrishnan. Hence, the use of EPT adds a dose of reality to training and helps to bring attitude changes in reducing stigma and discrimination in healthcare workers. What is motivating is the observation that even after the IMAI training, the EPTs kept in touch with the medical and paramedical staff whom they trained and also refer other patients from their community for a wide range of services like counselling and testing of HIV, management of acute illnesses, tuberculosis testing, and antenatal/PPTCT services. EPTs are empowered to take care of their own health and equipped to provide information and act as links between their peers and the district health system, thereby generating demand from the community.

Says Dr Chan, "The IMAI training has Greater Involvement of People Living with HIV/AIDS (GIPA), which is a part of the solution to the challenge of linking the community (the demand) and the healthcare system (the 'supplier'). For example, in the pilot site of Karur - EPTs hail from Karur and neighbouring districts of Namakkal, Erode, Dindigul, Tiruchirapalli, Thanjavur, Theni, Perambalur and Coimbatore." 57 PLHIV have been trained as EPTs.

In return, benefits to the EPTs themselves from being part of the 'solution' meant improved knowledge about their own disease and treatment literacy, a change in their attitudes and a sense of worth-facilitating 'positive living.' Dr John Stephens, Training Coordinator, St John's HIV/AIDS Training of Trainers Centre, Karnataka, adds, "It also increased their confidence and enthusiasm to contribute and to participate in the activities of the positive network, and to provide information to other PLHAs. It gave them a better understanding of the limitations and difficulties faced by the healthcare staff."

Post-training mentoring on site: Mentoring by a senior clinician and district administration/ health officer contributes to the continued reinforcement of translating knowledge and skills to local action by the healthcare staff, including local troubleshooting of problems. Post-training mentoring visits to the taluk/CHC/PHC have resulted in many significant changes. IMAI methodically uses structured 'sequence of care' to follow all chronic management patients in the PHCs, including diabetes, hypertension and HIV. This has resulted in reduced crowding of patients waiting for the doctor in the PHC setting. "The ANM, nurse and counsellor each play a part in the chronic care sequence and thus reduce the workload of the doctor," says Dr Chan.

"Furthermore, the diagnosis of unique HIV/AIDS opportunistic infection cases at the district hospital level after visits by the mentoring team, improved use of universal precaution, making post exposure prophylaxis, gloves and needle destroyers available at the primary healthcare centres with the support of the district collector's office have led to better quality of services at primary level," says Dr Ramakrishnan.

Team approach: During the IMAI training, the medical and paramedical staffs are trained to backup each other as a team. Some examples reported from the pilot sites include personal communication. The counsellor trained in IMAI identified a patient as having HIV-related illness, which was missed by the PHC doctor, and referred back to the doctor to double check. EPTs, even after the IMAI training finished, maintained strong links with the trained medical and paramedical staff. Dr Chan recalls, "After attending training, the doctor and staff nurse from a Karur district PHC have conducted a delivery for a HIV positive mother using adequate precautions. ICTC counsellors have reported being sensitised to MSM and transgender issues through skill-station simulations. ANMs refer PLHAs for health services and ensure patients are followed up regularly in the ART centre."

Overcoming Hurdles:
Considering that India is actually many countries in one, there were genuine cultural, social and economical challenges unique to each state. "There were many challenges in the field as we piloted the IMAI training in two different states which had their unique strengths and weaknesses," Dr Chan concedes. The challenges varied from creating the human resource pool of facilitators and EPTs to overcoming the initial stigma and discrimination of the healthcare workers (trainees), deputation of healthcare providers for training and making available the essential drugs and post exposure prophylaxis at primary level. However, having a good rapport with the HIV patients did help a lot. "SAATHII has been active since 2001 in creating awareness about HIV. Hence that rapport helped a lot here," says Dr Ramakrishnan.

After much reflection, these challenges were overcome by constant advocacy with the state and district administration, motivating PLHAs and community as well as healthcare providers. "Leadership of the district collector's office was crucial in the translation from 'training' to 'providing services/action'," says Dr Chan. The technical and cultural adaptations were made by Indian health experts (doctor, nurses, counsellors, PLHAs) through a series of meetings and further during each field training in the pilot districts. Adaptations were also made in the operational components.

Piloting to Success:
With its pilot projects a success, the WHO is looking into scaling up in other high HIV prevalence districts and states, and exploring the possibility of linking it with the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) towards mainstreaming of HIV into general health services, as part of the national vision to strengthen primary healthcare. Dr Chan reveals, "Tamil Nadu is planning to up-scale the WHO IMAI approach to other districts, while in Karnataka, talks are under way to scale up to other districts with high HIV burden." IMAI has already been adopted in 32 countries mostly in Africa. In Asia, the IMAI training has been adopted by China, Cambodia, Indonesia, and Myanmar.

Project coordinator Vacany Listing from ACTIONAID INDIA: Regional Office Bhubaneswar. Orissa

ACTIONAID INDIA: Regional Office Bhubaneswar. Orissa

Invites application for the post of Project coordinator, Mainstreaming HIV Response Resource Unit, Orissa.

ActionAid is an international anti-poverty agency working in over 40 countries, taking sides with poor people to end poverty and injustice together.

They have been recently commissioned by UNDP to implement a project to mainstream HIV response into selected ministries and agencies in Orissa. This 5 year project aims to benefit at least 6 lakh people across 6 districts of Orissa state through mainstreaming and community mobilization efforts. We are looking for a suitably experienced and qualified person to coordinate this challenging job.

Location: Bhubaneswar.

Duration: 3 months probation, initially two year contract with possible extension to three more years.

Specific task:
To expand the coverage and impact of the national HIV response - by mainstreaming HIV in six ministries as envisaged in the National AIDS Control Programme in Orissa linking up with actions in the field.

To assist civil society and private sector organizations implementing policies and programmes to reduce HIV stigma and discrimination for marginalized communities, especially women in Orissa

Capacities enhanced for effective management of NACP-III by government, with key ministries contributing to NACP-III goals through their respective areas of responsibilities in Orissa.

Minimum qualification and experience:
a. Advanced University degree (at least Masters or equivalent) in public health, medicine, social sciences, social work, public administration, law, or related fields. At least 10 years experience in progressively responsible positions.

b. Experience in designing and implementing HIV/AIDS programs for vulnerable population groups, advocating for policy change

c. Experience in dealing with national networks and advocacy in social areas or public health.

d. Proven effective representation skills to varied high level stakeholders.

e. Experience managing, designing, conducting and analyzing quantitative surveys or other statistical exercises.

f. Proven leadership skills and ability to work in a team.

g. Experience in building the capacity of the staff team from diverse cultures through both supervisory and non-supervisory relationships.

h. Strong communication skills, especially writing, presentation skills

i. Strong research and analytical skills with ability to conduct independent analysis and strategic planning.

j. High levels of advocacy and diplomatic skills to deals with higher ranking officials in various ministries

k. Good negotiation and communication skills in English, Hindi and preferably Oriya

l. Excellent computer skills in word and data processing

Salary: Pay is competitive and commensurate with experience current level and position.

Apply with an updated bio data with the address and contact details of two referees to

ACTIONAID, Regional Office, 331-A, Sahid Nagar, Bhubaneswar- 751007
or email to

The last date of receiving the applications is 27th April 2008.

ACTIONAID, Bhubaneswar

Career Opportunities For Psychologists

Career Opportunities For Psychologists
MedVista Health Care Solutions Pvt. Ltd.
Infopark, Cochin Campus

Recruitment: For Fresh Psychology Post Graduates

Walk-in Interview:
2-4 yrs Experienced Psychologists-Preferably Clinical/ Psychometric Test Development/ EducationalExcellent Communication Skills


Department of Psychology
Kerala University Campus, Kariavattom,

Date & Time:22nd April 2008 at 11 am

Interested Candidates are requested to appear for the campus recruitment/ walk-inwith two copies of resume

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

SAARC Energy Centre (SEC) Youth Energy Award 2008

SAARC Energy Centre (SEC)
Islamabad, Pakistan


SEC Youth Energy Award 2008

Essay Writing Competition on
“Energy Cooperation is Key to Economic Development in SAARC Region"

The energy sector in South Asia provides both challenges as well as opportunities for regional cooperation to achieve a win-win situation for all Member States; the ultimate beneficiary will be the people of the South Asia. Cooperation in energy sector can help to reduce energy security risks. South Asia is faced with the challenge of meeting its growing energy demand in a sustainable manner but with the limited means in hand. The per capita commercial energy consumption for the region as a whole is only 300 kg oil equivalent per year. Its energy needs will increase 3 times in the next 20 years from 500 million tonnes of oil equivalent to 1,500 million tonnes of oil equivalent. Its fossil fuels (coal, oil, gas) demand will further increase despite best endeavours to promote and develop alternate energy resources. The South Asian leaders at their Summit in 2004 have accorded high priority to regional energy cooperation.

In order to increase awareness among the youth of South Asia region and have them on board in identification and resolution of the energy issues the region is facing, the SAARC Energy Centre has initiated an annual program of Youth Energy Award. Under this program the students of the SAARC region will participate in the essay writing competitions on an identified theme. The theme of the essay for the year 2008 is “Energy Cooperation is Key to Economic Development in SAARC Region”. The authors of three best essays will be awarded with following three cash prizes: First prize US$ 1000, Second prize US$ 500, and Third Prize US$ 300.

Eligibility and procedure
? The participant of the competition should be a national of any of the SAARC Member States, less than 23 years of age on 31st December 2008 and registered for studies leading to a bachelor’s or master’s degree.
? The essay should be original 1½ spaced typewritten on A4 size page, not more than 750 words in English language focusing on the theme.
? The essay should include the references cited and supported by reasonable data with proper justification/analysis quoting the sources of data used.
? The participants will submit their essays to their respective national focal points by email (scanned copy of hard print) on or before 30th April 2008 . The email addresses of the country focal point are provided below.
? The essay should be accompanied with pdf or scanned copy of hard print of author’s biodata including contact details (postal and email address and phone number), certified copies of proof of age, university registration, and a certificate from the concerned institutional head (Principal or head of the faculty) that essay is actually written by the participant. A sample of the certificate is provided below.
? The authors of short-listed best essays in each country will be called for personal interview before the National Award Committee (constituted in each SAARC Member State) about their essays.
? Each National Award Committee will select three best authors and will send their names (merit list) and other documentation to the SAARC Energy Centre, Islamabad.
? The Governing Board of the SAARC Energy Centre will decide on the First, Second and Third prize winners.

The three prize winners will be invited to one of the energy related SAARC events for receiving the SEC Youth Energy Award. Their travel cost and local hospitality will be borne by SEC. Remaining short listed participants will be issued commendation certificates and all participants will be given a certificate of participation. SEC will not be responsible for any cost incurred on writing of the essay. This announcement is available on SEC website

NOTE: Non receipt of any of the above stated required documents will disqualify the author for the competition.

Country Focal Points:
Er. Mohd Amin Munsef

Dr. Muhammad Nurul Islam

Mr. Yeshi Wangdi

Dr. Ajay Mathur

Mr. Abdulla Wahid

Mr. Anup Kumar Upadhyay

Mr. M. Naeem Malik

Sri Lanka
Prof. Priyantha Wijayatunga

(Sample Certificate)
[on the letterhead of the educational institute to which the participant is registered for bachelor’s or master’s degree]

Certified that Miss/Ms/Mr …………………….. son/daughter of ………………… registered in this institute for …………………………………… degree course under registration number ……………… is the author of the attached essay on “Energy Cooperation is Key to Economic Development in SAARC Region” bearing my and participants signatures on each page.
His/her date of birth is …………………….
Signature and stamp
(Name and designation of the
head of the educational institute)

Essay Submission Form:

SEC Youth Energy Award 2008

Essay Writing Competition on
“Energy Cooperation is Key to Economic Development in SAARC Region”

COUNTRY NAME: …………………………………………………………..
Author’s name: ……………………………….………………………….
Educational Institution ……………………………………….………………….

Check list of the attached documents:
Scanned copy of the essay signed by author and the head of the educational institute
Author’s bio-data including contact details
Certified proof of age
Certificate from the concerned institutional head as per sample

Send by email to:
Your country focal point
and cc to:

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Personality Assessment in Treatment Planning

I read a new book (published last month) that I thought some of you might find helpful. It provides sound empirical guidance for assessing clients and planning treatment.

The book is *Personality Assessment in Treatment Planning* by James N. Butcher & Julia N. Perry (Oxford University Press, 250 pages, published March 20, 2008; ISBN: 978-0195330977) .

Here are brief excerpts from 3 of the endorsements:

"This book gives us more of the thoughtful and classical wisdom that we have come to expect from Butcher, made all the wiser by the addition of Julia Perry.... The collection of hundreds of research studies makes this an important reference..." --Larry E. Beutler, PhD, ABPP, William Mclnnes Distinguished Professor of Psychology, Director, National Center on the Psychology of Terrorism, Pacific Graduate School of Psychology and Consulting Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University School of Medicine.

"A classic mantra within clinical psychology is the question. 'What treatment works best for whom?'... [O]bjectively measured personality characteristics (i.e., MMPI) provide fruitful understandings of the differences among clients--difference s that can inform interventions from a variety of theoretical orientations. And, as Butcher and Perry expertty detail in their revised and expanded edition, sharing personality information with clients (psychological test feedback) can be an impetus to beneficial change.... A highly valuable resource for mental health professionals who want to appraise and understand their clients prior to intervention."
--Philip C. Kendall, PhD, Laura H. Carnell Professor of Psyct'c ac Director of the Child and Adolescent Anxiety Disorders Clinic at Temple University-

"Careful psychological assessment forms an essential foundation for successful treatment. Butcher and Perry combine first class expertise on the best studied and most widely used personality assessment tool (MMPI-2) with the Butcher Treatment Planning Inventory (BTPI) to provide clinicians with powerful tools to assure optimal client outcomes. Therapists will find highly practical guidance in every chapter, from the fundamentals of treatment planning to providing test feedback to clients. Anyone interested in tailoring client variables to evidencebased practice will find this a 'must have' volume"
--Gerald P. Koocher, PhD, ABPP, Dean and Professor of Psychology, Simmons College, School for Health Studies

"What way of living is compatible with the grandeur and mystery of life?"
--Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel (1907-1972)

why-- and how we can break free from the expectations of others

The April issue of *Scientific American Mind* includes an article: "How Stereotyping Yourself Contributes to Your Success (or Failure); People's performance on intellectual and athletic tasks is shaped by awareness of stereotypes about the groups to which they belong. New research explains why-- and how we can break free from the expectations of others" by S. Alexander Haslam, Jessica Salvatore, Thomas Kessler and Stephen D. Reicher.

Here's the article:

You tried so hard. But you failed. You did not pass the test, you performed poorly in the interview or you missed your project goal at the office. Why? Is it that you were not capable? Or could something more subtle--and worrisome--also be at work?

As it turns out, research shows that such performance failures cannot always be attributed simply to inherent lack of ability or incompetence. Although some have jumped to the highly controversial conclusion that differences in attainment reflect natural differences between groups, the roots of many handicaps actually lie in the stereotypes, or preconceptions, that others hold about the groups to which we belong. For instance, a woman who knows that women as a group are believed to do worse than men in math will, indeed, tend to perform less well on math tests as a result.

The same is true for any member of a group who is aware that his or her group is considered to be inferior to others in a given domain of performance- -whether it is one that appears to tap intellectual and academic ability or one that is designed to establish athletic and sporting prowess. Just as women's performance on spatial and mathematical tasks is created by, and appears to "prove," the stereotype of their spatial and mathematical inferiority, so, too, the sporting performance of a team of long-failing underdogs will tend to live up (or, in fact, down) to its low expectations.

The social psychological research that has uncovered these effects is an important development of theoretical work initiated in the 1970s that focused on issues of social identity--looking at how people see themselves as members of a particular group and what the implications of this are. More important, however, social identity research examines not only how we both take on (internalize) and live out (externalize) identities that are shared with our peers--other members of our in-group-- but also how these things can change. This research helps us to understand the debilitating consequences of sexism, racism, homophobia and the like, as well as to identify ways of addressing the problems they cause so that human talent and potential are not neglected or squandered.

Part of the story here involves -recognizing not only that stereotypes can promote failure but that they can also lift a person's or group's performance and be tools that promote social progress. Understanding these -dynamics--and the processes that -underpin them--enables us to think more productively about the conditions that allow ability to be expressed rather than repressed and that foster success rather than failure.

Stereotype Threat:
In the past decade such issues have been put on center stage by social psychologists who have been researching the phenomenon of "stereotype threat." The impressive body of work they have built up demonstrates not only that such underperformance occurs but also that it is especially common for individuals who are aware that their group is considered inferior to others with which it is compared. Pioneering studies conducted at Stanford University by Claude Steele and Joshua Aronson are particularly illuminating in this respect.

Steele and Aronson's classic demonstration of stereotype threat emerged from a series of studies in the mid-1990s in which high-achieving African-American students at Stanford completed questions from the verbal Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) under conditions where they thought either that the test was measuring intelligence or that it was not a test of ability at all. Intriguingly, these participants' performance was much worse when they were told that the test was a measure of intelligence. This slide, the researchers argued, occurred because "in situations where the stereotype is applicable, one is at risk of confirming it as a self-characterizati on, both to one's self and to others who know the stereotype."

This pattern of findings has been replicated with many different groups on many different dimensions of stereotype content. For example, Sian L. Beilock of the University of Chicago and her colleagues reported in a 2007 issue of the Journal of Experimental Psychology that if female students are made aware of the stereotype that men have greater mathematical ability than women do, they tend to perform worse on complex mathematical tasks than they do if they are not alerted to this stereotype. Likewise, elderly people have been found to perform worse on memory tests if they take them after being made aware of stereotypes that associate aging with deteriorating cognitive ability.

In the domain of athletic performance, studies of golf putting have shown that expert golfers tend to leave their putts farther from a target than they would otherwise do if they are exposed to a stereotype that members of their sex are worse at putting than members of the opposite sex. It seems unlikely that Greg Norman choked in the 1996 Masters Tournament, when he blew an early lead and ultimately lost, because he was mindful of this stereotype, but other relevant stereotypes (for instance, that Australians underperform in the Masters-- with no one from that country ever having won the tournament) may have interfered with the flow of his game at the critical juncture. Along similar lines, it seems entirely plausible that England's poor performance on penalty shoot-outs in World Cup soccer matches has something to do with a lack of self-belief associated with a team history of performing poorly in such contests (of seven shoot-outs in major tournaments, the team has won only one).

Understanding Process:
What, though, is the "something" that is responsible for the effects of stereotype threat? Recent work has argued that one core factor is enhanced cognitive load. For example, a 2005 study by social psychologists Mara Cadinu, Anne Maass and colleagues at the University of Padua in Italy showed that when women perform mathematical tasks after being exposed to the stereotype that they are worse at math than men, they report entertaining more intrusive negative thoughts about their own mathematical ability. That is, they find themselves thinking things such as "These exercises are too difficult for me" and "I am not good at math." Likewise, a number of studies have indicated that exposing people to negative stereotypes about groups to which they belong increases their anxiety and stress when performing tasks related to that stereotype.

Evidence from work by Beilock and others also suggests that such anxieties can use up information- processing resources that are required to carry out the tasks at hand. For example, when people perform complex math tasks, this cognitive burden places heavy demands on working memory, using the brain areas that briefly store and manipulate information.

The 2007 article by Beilock and her colleagues attempts to explore and integrate these ideas by delving deeply into the cognitive dynamics of stereotype threat. Working in the domain of women's performance on mathematical tasks, a series of experiments replicates the standard stereotype threat effect: it shows that the effect is most pronounced on tasks that place demands on phonological resources (such as those requiring verbal reasoning); demonstrates that the presence of stereotype threat increases verbal reports of worry associated with either the task or the stereotype; and suggests that the debilitating consequences of stereotype threat can be avoided if participants learn to perform tasks in such a way that they are mentally undemanding. The last insight is based on evidence that women do not succumb to the effects of stereotype threat if they learn answers to math problems by rote (as one does when learning one's times tables) so that their production relies only on long-term memory.

On the basis of these studies, the researchers make the case that their work advances our understanding of stereotype threat by revealing what is responsible for its effects (for instance, anxiety-related demands on short-term verbal memory) and then using this understanding to suggest how this impact can be overcome. In this regard, there is no doubt that their work contributes substantially to our understanding of specific cognitive aspects of the phenomenon, and in particular the role that memory processes can play in the dynamics of particular threat-related effects. Yet despite its internal coherence, there are reasons for believing that an exclusively cognitive analysis is limited both theoretically and practically.

Stereotypes That Help:
A sense that the theoretical analysis by Beilock and her colleagues is incomplete derives from other research inspired by Steele and Aronson's original demonstration of the effects of stereotype threat. Exposure to stereotypes, researchers have found, can have welcome as well as unwelcome consequences. That is, under certain circumstances, exposure to stereotypes about one's group can serve to elevate performance instead of compromising it.

Studies conducted at Harvard University in 1999 by Margaret Shih and her co-investigators provide particularly good demonstrations of this point. The participants in this research were Asian women. In different conditions of the studies they were required to focus on the fact either that they were women (who are stereotypically worse at math than men) or that they were Asian (stereotypically better at math than members of other ethnic groups). As in Beilock and her colleagues' work, in the former case the women performed worse than they did when no group membership was made salient. Yet in the latter case they did better.

Other studies reveal similar effects, finding that women display superior ability on spatial tests if reminded that they attend a college whose students perform well on such tasks and that golfers putt more accurately if exposed to a stereotype that members of their sex are better at putting than those of the opposite sex. Jeff Stone of the University of Arizona and fellow psychologists also found that when white golfers are told that their golfing performance will be compared with that of black golfers they perform worse if they believe this is a test of "natural athletic ability" (because here the comparison poses a threat), but that they perform better if they believe it to be a test of "sport strategic intelligence" (because this comparison suggests the in-group's superiority) .

A meta-analysis of similar studies published in 2003 by social psychologists Gregory Walton and Geoffrey Cohen, then at Yale University, has shown that if people are exposed to stereotypes about the inferiority of an out-group (those who are not part of the individual's in-group) in a given domain, then their performance is typically elevated--a phenomenon they refer to as stereotype lift. In this way, just as a sense of in-group inferiority can impair performance, an ideology of superiority can give members of high-status groups a performance boost.

Such elevated performance cannot easily be explained in terms of cognitive load--because it is hard to see how the salience of a positive in-group stereotype (as in "we are good") could increase the memory resources available to participants (relative to those in control conditions). Ideally, then, a parsimonious explanation of the effects of stereotypes should be capable of accounting for both upward and downward change. It should also be able to explain a host of other effects reported in the research literature-- including evidence that such effects are apparent in domains where cognitive capacity is not critical (golf or basketball, say); are diminished if people are exposed to stereotypes about multiple groups; are weaker if one's in-group is not exposed to generalized hostility (for example, if one is male or white); and vary depending on whether participants are encouraged to focus on promoting positive outcomes or on preventing negative ones.

More important, an explanation of effects arising from stereotype threat also needs to explain why these influences are not as generalized as a cursory reading of Beilock and her colleagues' work might suggest.Because it is certainly not the case that all members of a given group succumb to the perils of threat.

On the contrary, effects are restricted to individuals who value the domain in question and who have high levels of basic competence (for instance, those who, in the abstract, have less to worry about). To be selected to participate in Beilock and her colleagues' first study of mathematical performance, for example, women had to perform baseline tasks with greater than 75 percent accuracy, and they had to agree with the statements "I am good at math" and "It is important to me that I am good at math." Why do these things matter?

Self and Identity:
One answer to the preceding question is that, fundamentally, stereotype threat is not so much an issue of cognition per se as one of self and identity. This point has been made by a number of researchers working in the stereotype domain, including Steele and Aronson themselves. Along these lines, in a recent major review of work in this area, they,together with social psychologist Steven Spencer of the University of Waterloo in Ontario, argue that stereotype threat can be understood as a phenomenon that centers on a person's social identity. That is, stereotype threat (and lift) effects come about because, and to the extent that, people are encouraged to think of themselves in terms of a particular group membership (such as Asian or female; white or male).

As specified by the social identity theory that Henri Tajfel and John Turner developed at the University of Bristol in England, when people define themselves as group members (as "we" rather than "I"), behavioris shaped by the stereotypic norms that define in-group membership in any given context [see "The Psychology of Tyranny," by S. Alexander Haslam and Stephen D. Reicher; Scientific American Mind, Vol. 16, No. 3; 2005]. Here people are generally motivated to advance the interests of their in-group and to see it positively. They are, for example, more inclined to agree with stereotypes that suggest "we are good" than with those that say "we are bad." Yet under conditions in which broad consensus exists about an in-group's low status and in which status appears to be stable and legitimate (that is, uncontestable) , members of that group often accept and internalize their group's inferiority on status-defining dimensions ("We are poor at math ...") and seek to achieve a positive in-group identity in other areas ("... but we are more verbally skilled, more sociable, more musical, and so on").

Thus, when the content of a salient social identity conflicts with a person's motivations to do well in a given domain (to be good at math, for instance), he or she will experience identity-related psychological conflict. This conflict tends to interfere with performance in the way that studies of stereotype threat reveal. As the work of Cadinu and others shows, it creates anxiety, self-consciousness and self-doubt. In short, people will tend to perform relatively poorly in situations where they have a conflicted sense of self--wherein their sense of what they are (and want to be) as individuals appears incompatible with what they are seen to be as group members.

On the other hand, if the content of a salient social identity is compatible with a person's aspirations (perhaps because they suggest superior ability), this circumstance will tend to motivate and energize the individual and thereby improve performance in the manner suggested by demonstrations of stereotype lift. We experience a facility of self and "flow" when what we are and want to be as individuals is fully compatible with what we appear to be as group members.

Overcoming Stereotypes:
One final question, though, is whether the phenomenon of stereotype threat (or lift) means that people are destined always to reproduce existing stereotypes and social structures. Are we inevitably condemned to act in ways that reinforce existing stereotypes of superiority and inferiority? Not at all. Indeed, one important lesson to be learned from theorizing about social identity is that when individuals are confronted with obstacles to self-enhancement associated with the apparent inferiority of their in-group, they can deal with these obstacles in multiple ways. These strategic responses do more or less to reproduce the status quo.

The first is to adopt a strategy of "social mobility," which involves individual-level activities that serve to downplay the impact of the group on the self. In effect, this is the kind of strategy that Beilock and her colleagues recommend when they encourage participants to work hard to learn solutions to problems by rote so they will no longer be handicapped by stereotype threat. The limitation of this solution is that it protects the individual by working around the problem but, in the process, leaves the problem itself unresolved. As two of us (Haslam and Reicher) note in a 2006 article in the Journal of Applied Psychology, such activities thus involve attempting to cope with the stress of threats to self through a strategy of personal avoidance. This approach may be cognitively sophisticated but politically naive.

A second strategy is one of "social creativity," which invokes different in-group stereotypes that deflect the impact of belonging to a disadvantaged group. Traditionally, researchers and laypeople alike have tended to think of stereotypes as fixed and invariant representations of social groups that are impervious to change. In fact, however, the large body of evidence reviewed in the mid-1990s by Penelope Oakes and her fellow social identity researchers at the Australian National University suggests that stereotypes- -of both ourselves and others--are inherently flexible.

For example, the degree to which psychology students think of themselves as "scientific" or "artistic" has been shown to vary considerably depending on whether they compare themselves with drama students or with physical scientists. In comparison with physical scientists they are more inclined to stereotype themselves as artistic, but in comparison with people who work in the theater they are more inclined to stereotype themselves as scientific. Psychology students should experience stereotype threat if they are asked to perform a scientific task when compared with physicists or an artistic task when compared with artists, but they should experience stereotype lift if asked to perform an artistic task when compared with physicists or a scientific task when compared with artists.

Leaders and other agents of change are thus able to promote changes to in-group stereotypes by altering the dimensions of comparison, the comparative frame of reference or the meaning of particular attributes. There is a sense, however, in which these strategies of social creativity still work within a prevailing consensus rather than doing anything directly to change features of the social world that give rise to a group's stigmatization and disadvantage. In this respect, they can still be seen as strategies of threat denial rather than threat removal.

A third alternative, then, is to advocate group-based opposition to the status quo through a strategy of social competition that involves engaging in active resistance. Here group members work together to challenge the legitimacy of the conditions (and associated stereotypes) that define them as inferior--trying to change the world that oppresses them rather than their reactions to the existing world. They work to counter the stereotypes that are tools of their repression with stereotypes that are tools of emancipation. This strategy was precisely what activists such as Steve Biko and Emmeline Pankhurst achieved through black consciousness and feminism, respectively. They challenged the legitimacy of those comparisons and stereotypes that defined their groups as inferior and replaced them with expressions of group pride. They were (as one supporter said of Pankhurst) "self-dedicated reshaper[s]of the world." And the more their opponents invoked stereotypes against them, the more they acted collectively to contradict those stereotypes and reveal their claims to legitimacy as a lie.

To quote from the evidence that Biko gave at his trial in South Africa in 1976: "The basic tenet of black consciousness is that the black man must reject all value systems that seek to make him a foreigner in the country of his birth and reduce his basic human dignity."

Which of these three strategies individuals choose to pursue, social identity theory argues, depends on a range of factors that are structural and political as well as cognitive and psychological. In particular, whether or not people seek to change an unequal world rather than adapting to it depends partly on whether they are exposed to social- change belief systems that engage their imagination and articulate cognitive alternatives to the prevailing orthodoxy. In this respect, the significance of established methods for measuring differences between groups (for example, in various forms of ability) derives from their capacity to limit the potential for people to conceive of such alternatives by presenting data as objective and uncontestable "fact." That is, they do not so much measure "real" difference as contribute to making measured differences "real." In this regard, too, the success of leaders of emancipa-tory movements typically derives from their capacity to create a sense of shared social identity that centers on challenges to the stereotypes and received forms of understanding that define their group as inferior.

Resistance, of course, is not always successful. Yet it is rarely entirely futile either. Indeed, history teaches us that change is as much a part of social reality as is stability. And when they are in our own hands, stereotypes can be essential to mobilizing the group for success as much as, when in the hands of others, they can be used as forces of restraint and -failure.

Thus, the literature on stereotype threat delivers two fundamental lessons. The first is to beware of equating performance and ability, especially when dealing with differences between groups, and to understand the power that the expectations of others has over what we do. The second is to realize that we are not doomed to be victims of oppressive stereotypes but can learn to use stereotypes as tools of our own liberation. In short, who we think we are determines both how we perform and what we are able to become.

A triviality is a statement whose opposite is false. However, a great truth is a statement whose opposite may well be another great truth."
--Niels Bohr, Nobel Prize in Physics (1885-1962)