Forewarning and forearming stereotype-threatened students

Matthew S. McGlone, Joshua Aronson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study investigated communicative strategies for helping female students cope with "stereotype threat". Participants completed a difficult math test after reading one of three coping messages: a control message encouraging perseverance, a "suppression" message describing stereotype threat and instructing participants to suppress associated thoughts, and a "replacement" message describing the phenomenon and presenting an alternative, self-relevant positive stereotype. As predicted, a performance gap favoring males was observed in the control condition. This gap widened when students attempted to suppress threatening thoughts but narrowed when they were primed with the alternative positive stereotype. Our results demonstrate that priming a positive achieved identity (e.g., private college student) can subdue stereotype threat associated with an ascribed identity (e.g., female).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)119-133
Number of pages15
JournalCommunication Education
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2007


  • Instructional Communication
  • Sex
  • Standardized Tests
  • Stereotype Threat

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Education
  • Language and Linguistics


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