Social Psychology of Education

, Volume 4, Issue 1, pp 53–65 | Cite as

Will a Category Cue Affect You? Category Cues, Positive Stereotypes and Reviewer Recall for Applicants

  • Todd L. Pittinsky
  • Margaret Shih
  • Nalini Ambady


Most empirical research on stereotypes and recall has examined how a single social category of a target can influence a perceiver's recall. Will subtle cues of one or another social category of a target lead reviewers to markedly different recall? In this study one of two social categories of an applicant was subtly cued for reviewers – gender or ethnicity. Common cultural stereotypes hold that Asians have superior quantitative skills compared to other ethnic groups and that women have inferior quantitative skills compared to men. Participants reviewed the college application of a female Asian American high school senior, which included her score on the math scholastic aptitude test (SAT). In a recall task, cues of her gender category resulted in participants recalling significantly lower math performance for the applicant, while cues of her ethnic category resulted in participants recalling significantly higher math performance, compared to a control condition for which neither category was cued. Thus, positive stereotypes can influence reviewer recall, and subtle category cues can result in markedly different recall of an applicant. Findings suggest that category cues and multiple social categories are under-appreciated aspects of stereotyping in general and stereotyping in educational processes in particular.


High School Senior Social Category Gender Category Math Performance Cultural Stereotype 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Todd L. Pittinsky
    • 1
  • Margaret Shih
    • 2
  • Nalini Ambady
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyHarvard UniversityCambridge
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyHarvard UniversityCambridge

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