The Effect of Gender Stereotype Threat and Conceptions of Ability on Motor Learning and Working Memory

Narges Nahidi, Esmaeel Saemi, Mohammadreza Doustan, Joshua Aronson, Raphaël Laurin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The present study explored the effects of gender stereotype threat and conceptions of ability on motor learning and working memory in novice female learners. Sixty participants (Mage = 21.92 years, SDage = 1.74) were randomly assigned into a gender stereotype threat and a control group (neutral; without stereotype threat). Each group was, in turn, randomly divided into two subgroups: inherent ability and acquired skill. The tasks assigned to the participants included soccer dribbling and the n-back test. In the pretest, the individuals only performed one dribbling trial, whereas in the practice phase, the individuals performed 12 blocks of five trials based on their respective test conditions. During retention and transfer under pressure (48 hr after practice for both tests), the participants carried out one block of five trials. The participants also completed the n-back test in the pretest, posttest, and retention phases. In both motor performance and learning, the findings suggested that both gender stereotype threat and inherent ability variables can negatively influence the soccer dribbling skill (p < .05). However, regarding working memory, the results could not show any significant difference between the groups (p > .05). How these variables affect or do not affect motor learning as well as working memory and how the results are applied in the motor domain are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)338-358
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Motor Learning and Development
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2023


  • motor skills
  • n-back test
  • soccer dribbling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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