, Volume 52, Issue 7-8, pp 489-496

Stereotype Threat in Men on a Test of Social Sensitivity

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This study provides evidence of stereotype threat in men on a test of a feminine ability called social sensitivity, that is, the ability to decode nonverbal cues. Men who were told that the test assessed social sensitivity and produced better scores for women than men performed worse on the test than did men who were told that the test assessed information processing. Because social sensitivity can be an automatic skill and stereotype threat uses mental capacity, this effect was moderated by self-reported strategy usage. Men’s performance worsened in the threat condition only when they reported more deliberative and less intuitive strategies for decoding nonverbal cues.