Variations of Gender–math Stereotype Content Affect Women’s Vulnerability to Stereotype Threat
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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.
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