Stereotype threat impairs ability building: Effects on test preparation among women in science and technology

Markus Appel, Nicole Kronberger, Joshua Aronson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Stereotype threat is an uncomfortable psychological state that has been shown to impair cognitive ability test scores. It is an open question whether and in what ways it affects processes involved in learning and knowledge acquisition. This research examined whether stereotypes also interfere with test preparation among women in the domain of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Study 1 (N=1058) revealed that people are aware of a stereotype portraying women as less proficient in STEM-test preparation than men. Women's note-taking activities were impaired under stereotype threat (Study 2, N=40), particularly when domain identification was high (Study 3, N=79). Moreover, stereotype threat impaired women's performance evaluating the notes of others (Study 4, N=88). Our work thus shows that stereotype threat not only hinders stereotyped individuals' capacity to demonstrate their abilities but also impairs behaviors that develop them.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)904-913
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Journal of Social Psychology
Volume41
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology

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