Recently (Sept. 25, Sept. 28) I've been posting about our not being able to know "true" reality. Our brains interpret sensory data and present environmental pictures or ideas in ways that were useful when our species evolved. So there may be no way to be certain about our surroundings or about other people's perceptions of our surroundings.
According to an article by Anne Murphy Paul in the October 6 New York Times "Sunday Review," how we perform on tests or how people see us, depends on the circumstances.
Gender differences appear on an academic test, if test-takers are first told that they are being tested to check on such gender differences. And not, if there is no such introduction.
Racial differences appear on academic tests, if test-takers first hear about such differences, whether they exist or not. And not, if there is no such introduction.
The same person strikes different social audiences as clever and entertaining or dull and uninteresting, depending on how that person is feeling about himself or herself on a particular occasion.
Antidote to such mental poisons might be to research the facts about false stereotypes or to spend time in situations that leave us feeling self-confident right before an important interview.