Rising to the threat: Reducing stereotype threat by reframing the threat as a challenge

Adam L. Alter, Joshua Aronson, John M. Darley, Cordaro Rodriguez, Diane N. Ruble

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In two experiments, we found that the performance-inhibiting consequences of stereotype threat were eliminated when the threat was subtly reframed as a challenge. In Experiment 1, Black school children in North Carolina completed a 10-item mathematics test. Participants who reported their race before taking the test performed more poorly than participants who reported their race after completing the test, unless the test was framed as a challenge. Experiment 2 replicated this effect with undergraduates at a prestigious university. When reminded that they graduated from high schools that were poorly represented at the university, they performed more poorly than their peers on a math test. However, when the test was reframed as a challenge, this threat had no effect on their performance. These findings are discussed in terms of their theoretical and practical applications for both educational and athletic training.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)166-171
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2010


  • Appraisal
  • Challenge
  • Stereotype threat
  • Threat

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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