Psychology Dictionary of Arguments

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Haslam I 250
Stereotype threat/Forbes/Schmader: The original studies suggested that stereotype threat can be cued for Black college students by how a task is described or whether one’s group identity is made salient. (>Experiment/Aronson/Steele; >Stereotype threat/Aronson/Steele).
Triggers: Along with our colleague Michael Johns, we proposed that stereotype threat is triggered when a situation simultaneously primes three incongruent cognitions:
a) I am a member of Group X,
b) Group X is thought to do poorly in this domain,
c) I care about doing well in this domain (Schmader et al., 2008)(1).
Cues to subtle sexism, a cartoon demeaning women’s math performance on a lab wall, can for example impair women’s math performance (Adams et al., 2006(2); Oswald and Harvey, 2000(3)). But simply being outnumbered by men in a math or science context can also trigger a concern among women that they might not belong or perform well in the setting (Inzlicht and Ben-Zeev, 2000(4); Murphy, Steele and Gross, 2007)(5). Importantly, individuals often need to feel person ally invested in doing well, as individual anonymity often reduces effects (Jamieson and Harkins, 2010(6); Wout et al., 2008(7); Zhang et al., 2013(8)).
Haslam I 251
Moderators: A key assumption of the theory is that to experience stereotype threat, one must have knowledge of a negative stereotype about one’s group in relevant domains (Forbes and Schmader, 2010(9); Keifer and Sekaquaptewa, 2007(10); McKown and Weinstein, 2003(11)). Although believing the stereotype is true is not necessary to experience effects, suspicions that the stereotype might be accurate can magnify performance impairments (Schmader et al., 2004)(12). Likewise, individuals are more susceptible to stereotype threat effects when they are more stigma conscious, or attuned to these negative stereotypes (Brown and Lee, 2005(13); Brown and Pinel, 2003(14)). (…) gender gaps in performance are non-existent in countries where there is no evidence of a strong math = male association or where there is greater evidence of gender equality in the culture as a whole (Else-Quest et al., 2010(15); Nosek et al., 2009(16)). Although correlational, this variability might suggest that women in these more gender egalitarian cultures experience less stereotype threat.
Even in cultures where stereotypes are prevalent, not all members of a stigmatized group will be vulnerable to effects. As Steele’s (1997) vanguard hypothesis posits, individuals who are most invested in performing well might ironically show the largest performance impairments because the stereotypes themselves pose a greater threat to their identity (Lawrence et al., 2010(17); Nguyen and Ryan, 2008(18)). Such effects could help explain why among one sample of students, racial minorities who initially placed a high value on academic pursuits were later the most likely to drop out of high school (Osborne and Walker, 2006)(19). Just as identification with the domain raises the stakes for one’s performance, so too does the identification with the stigmatized groups to which one belongs (Davis et al., 2006(20); Ployhart et aL, 2003(21); Schmader, 2002(22). Those who are highly group identified perform poorly when scores will be used to compare groups, even if their personal performance is anonymous (Wout et al., 2008(7)).
Explanation of the stereotype threat: >Explanation/Forbes/Schmader.



1. Schmader, T., Johns, M. and Forbes, C. (2008) ‘An integrated process model of stereotype threat effects on performance’, Psychological Review, 115: 336—56.
2. Adams, G., Garcia, D.M., Purdie-Vaughns, V. and Steele, C.M. (2006) ‘The detrimental effects of a suggestion of sexism in an instruction situation’, Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 42: 602—15.
3. Oswald, D.L. and Harvey, R.D. (2000) ‘Hostile environments, stereotype threat, and math performance among undergraduate women’, Current Psychology: Developmental, Learning, Personality, Social, 19: 3 38—56.
4.. Inzlicht, M. and Ben-Zeev, T. (2000) ‘A threatening intellectual environment: Why females are susceptible to experiencing problem-solving deficits in the presence of males’, Psychological Science, 1 1: 365—71.
5. 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.
6. Jamieson, J.P. and Harkins, S.G. (2010) ‘Evaluation is necessary to produce stereotype threat performance effects’, Social Influence, 5: 75—86.
7. Wout, D., Danso, H., Jackson, J. and Spencer, S. (2008) ‘The many faces of stereotype threat: Group- and se1f-threat, Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 44:792—99.
8. Zhang, S., Schmader, T. and Hall, W.M. (2013) L’eggo my ego: Reducing the gender gap in math by unlinking the self from performance’, Self and Identity, 12: 400—12.
9. Forbes, C.E. and Schmader, T. (2010) ‘Retraining attitudes and stereotypes to affect motivation and cognitive capacity under stereotype threat’, Journal of Personality and Social
Psychology, 99: 740—5 4.
10 .Keifer, A.K. and Sekaquaptewa, D. (2007) ‘Implicit stereotypes and women’s math performance: How implicit gender—math stereotypes influence women’s susceptibility to stereotype threat’, Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 43: 825—32.
11. McKown, C. and Weinstein, R.S. (2003) ‘The development and consequences of stereotype consciousness in middle childhood’, Child Development, 74:498—515.
12. Schmader, T., Johns, M. and Barquissau, M. (2004) The costs of accepting gender differences: The role of stereotype endorsement in women’s experience in the math domain’, Sex Roles, 50: 83 5—50.
13. Brown, R.P. and Lee, M.N. (2005) ‘Stigma consciousness and the race gap in college academic achievement’, Self and Identity, 4: 149—5 7.
14. Brown, R.P. and Pinel, E.C. (2003) ‘Stigma on my mind: Individual differences in the experience of stereotype threat’, Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 39: 626—33.
15. Else-Quest, N.M., Hyde,J.S. and Linn, M.C. (2010) ‘Cross-national patterns of gender differences in mathematics: a meta-analysis’, Psychological Bulletin, 136(1): 103—2 7.
16. Nosek, B.A., Smyth, F.L., Sriram, N., Lindner, N.M., Devos, T., Ayala, A. ... and Kesebir, S.
(2009) Nationa1 differences in gender—science stereotypes predict national sex differ-
17. Lawrence, J.S., Marks, B.T. and Jackson, J.S. (2010) ‘Domain identification predicts black
Students’ underperformance on moderately-difficult tests’, Motivation and Emotion,
34(2): 105—9.
18. Nguyen, H.-H.D. and Ryan, A.M. (2008) ‘Does stereotype threat affect test performance of minorities and women? A meta-analysis of experimental evidence’, Journal of Applied Psychology, 93: 1314—34.
19. Osborne, J.W. and Walker, C. (2006) ‘Stereotype threat, identification with academics, and withdrawal from school: Why the most successful students of colour might be the most likely to withdraw’, Educational Psychology, 26: 563—77.
20. Davis, C.I., Aronson, J. and Salinas, M. (2006) of threat: Racial identity as a moderator of stereotype threat’, Journal of Black Psychology, 32: 399—417.
21. Ployhart, R.E., Ziegert, J.C. and McFarland, L.A. (2003) iJnderstanding racial differences on cognitive ability tests in selection contexts: An integration of stereotype threat and applicant reactions research, Human Performance, 16: 231—59.
22. Schmader, T. (2002) ‘Gender identification moderates stereotype threat effects on women’s math performance’, Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 38: 194—201.



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.
Forbes, Chad
Haslam I
S. Alexander Haslam
Joanne R. Smith
Social Psychology. Revisiting the Classic Studies London 2017


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