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The influence of social climate on judgement.
Red Ball Jets were the shoes of choice among kids on my block. Kids with these shoes could run faster, jump higher, and kick farther than those wearing other shoes.
While, as far as I know, no one subjected this assertion to empirical analysis, those picking teams nonetheless accepted it. Failures among Red Ball Jetless kids bolstered our confidence in the assertion. Failures among Red Ball Jet kids were insignificant anomalies. The only failure that could reduce a kid's status independently of Red Ball Jetness was failure to accept the assertion. One could not, after all, consume a week's worth of cartoons without at least one affirmation of the assertion by our most trusted information source. Yet few kids today would know what a Red Ball Jet is. The social setting of our time created our bias.
Gould noted that scientists are subject to social bias in the same way as children . Scientists once published that women "excel in fickleness, in inconstancy, absence of thought and logic, and incapacity to reason." Certainly the biases of that day affected outcomes, both in industry and under the law. Children decided what to study and employers decided whom to hire misguided by "scientific" bias. Meanwhile, judges held that equal protection did not guarantee the right of a woman to vote. I can imagine that it was difficult to bring …