Variations of Gender–math Stereotype Content Affect Women’s Vulnerability to Stereotype Threat
- 1.3k Downloads
To determine whether variations in stereotype content salience moderates stereotype threat effects, 66 US female undergraduate students were given a standardized math exam, and the salience of specific gender–math stereotype content was manipulated before the exam. Women exerted more effort on each problem and performed better on a math exam when threatened with an effort-based stereotype compared to when threatened with the ability-based stereotype or control (where no stereotype was explicitly mentioned). Implications of these results are discussed in terms of stereotype and social identity threat theory, as well as how the socio-cultural salience of ability versus other components of the gender–math stereotype may impact women who pursue math and science-based domains.
KeywordsGender stereotypes Stereotype threat Sex Mathematical ability Academic motivation
Portions of this research were funded by a National Science Foundation Fellowship for the first author to participate in the East Asia Summer Institute Program. We also thank Carol Sansone for her helpful comments on a previous version of this manuscript, as well as two very helpful anonymous reviewers for their comments.
- Crocker, J., Major, B., & Steele, C. (1998). Social stigma. In D. T. Gilbert, S. T. Fiske, & G. Lindzey (Eds.), Handbook of social psychology (pp. 504–533, 4th ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
- Deaux, K., & LaFrance, M. (1998). Gender. In D. T. Gilbert, S. T. Fiske, & G. Lindzey (Eds.), Handbook of social psychology (pp. 504–533, 4th ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
- Educational Testing Service (1995). Practicing to take the general test: Big book. Princeton, NJ: Educational Testing Service.Google Scholar
- Good, C., Dweck, C. S., & Rattan, A. (2005). Perceiving a malleable-ability versus a fixed-ability environment: The effect of women’s sense of belonging to math. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology. New Orleans, LA, January.Google Scholar
- Hess, R. D., & Azuma, H. (1991). Cultural support for schooling: Contrasts between Japan and the United States. Educational Researcher, 20, 2–8.Google Scholar
- Inzlicht, M., & Good, C. (2006). How environments can threaten academic performance, self-knowledge, and sense of belonging. In S. Levin & C. van Laar (Eds.), Stigma and group inequality: Social psychological perspectives (pp. 129–150). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
- National Science Foundation (1996). Women, minorities, and persons with disabilities in science and engineering: 1996 (National Science Foundation Publication No. 96–311). Arlington, VA: Author.Google Scholar
- Seymour, E., & Hewitt, N. M. (1997). Talking about leaving: Why undergraduates leave the sciences. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.Google Scholar
- Sloan, L. R., Wilburn, G., Fenton, T., Craig-Henderson, K., & Starr, B. J. (2004). Out-group presence, but not overt negative stereotype reminders, produce stereotype threat performance decrements in in-group settings. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Midwestern Psychological Association, Chicago, IL, April.Google Scholar
- Swim, J. K., & Stangor, C. (1998). Prejudice: The target’s perspective. San Diego, CA: Academic.Google Scholar