Psychology Dictionary of Arguments

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Haslam I 252
Performance/stereotype threat/Forbes/Schmader: Although (…) negative thoughts and worries might directly mediate the performance-decrements observed (Cadinu et al., 2005(1); Keller and Dauenheimer, 2003(2)), another possibility is that individuals’ increased vigilance to threatening cues and active attempts to suppress negative thoughts and feelings hijack the working-memory resources needed for optimal performance. >Stereotype threat/Forbes/Schmader, >Stereotype threat/Psychological theories.
For example, evidence of enhanced vigilance under stereotype threat can be found in neurological indices of error detection (Forbes et al., 2008)(3) and increased attention to even subliminally presented threat-related cues (Kaiser et al., 2006)(4). This vigilance also translates into enhanced memory encoding of negative feedback and other cues to threat that can undermine one’s identification with the domain (Forbes et al., 2015(5); Forbes et al., 2016(6); Murphy et al., 2007(7)). Conscious attention to performance cued by stereotype threat can be especially debilitating for tasks that are better performed through well-practised automated processes, such as putting for expert golfers (Beilock et al., 2006(8)). Cf. >Emotion/Forbes/Schmader, >Method/Forbes/Schmader.


1. Cadinu, M., Maass, A., Rosabianca, A. and Kiesner,J. (2005) Why do women underperform under stereotype threat?’, Psychological Science, 16: 5 72—8.
2. Keller, J. and Dauenheimer, D. (2003) 1Stereotype threat in the classroom: Dejection mediates the disrupting threat effect on womens math performance’, Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 29: 371—81.
3. Forbes, C.E., Schmader, T. and Allen, J.J.B. (2008) The role of devaluing and discounting in performance monitoring: A neurophysiological study of minorities under threat’, Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 3:253—61.
4. Kaiser, C.R., Vick, S.B. and Major, B. (2006) ‘Prejudice expectations moderate preconscious attention to cues that are threatening to social identity’, Psychological Science, 17: 332— 38.
5. Forbes, C.E., Duran, K.A., Leitner, J.B. and Magerman, A. (2015) Stereotype-threatening contexts enhance encoding of negative feedback to engender underperformance and anxiety’, Social Cognition, 33: 605.-25.
6. Forbes, C.E., Amey, R., Magerman, A.B., Duran, K. and Liu, M. (2016) ‘Stereotype-based stressors facilitate emotional memory neural network connectivity and encoding of negative information to degrade math self-perceptions among women’, unpublished manuscript.
7. Murphy, M.C., Steele, C.M. and Gross, J.J. (2007) ‘Signaling threat: How situational cues affect women in math, science, and engineering settings’, Psychological Science, 18: 879—85.
8. Beilock, S.L., Rydell, R.J. and McConnell, A.R. (2007) ‘Stereotype threat and working memory: Mechanisms, alleviation, and spillover’, Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 136(2): 256-76


Toni Schmader and Chad Forbes, “Stereotypes and Performance. Revisiting Steele and Aronson’s stereotypes threat experiments”, in: Joanne R. Smith and S. Alexander Haslam (eds.) 2017. Social Psychology. Revisiting the Classic Studies. London: Sage Publications


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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution.
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.
Schmader, Toni
Haslam I
S. Alexander Haslam
Joanne R. Smith
Social Psychology. Revisiting the Classic Studies London 2017


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