Women drive better if not stereotyped

Angelica Moè, Mara Cadinu, Anne Maass

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A commonly held stereotype is that women are poor drivers. This stereotype is recognized and endorsed by women and girls very early on, long before taking their driving licence, nevertheless they are less involved in accidents and drive safer and less fast than men. In line with the stereotype threat theory, the present study tests the hypothesis that making the driving stereotype salient will lead women to underperform in a driving simulation task. In Experiment 1women in the stereotype threat condition were told that the aim of the study was to detect gender differences in driving whereas in a control condition no study aim was provided. In Experiment 2, two conditions were compared: stereotype threat (same instructions as in Experiment 1), and stereotype boost (the alleged goal was to compare driving ability of young vs. old people). As predicted, the results of both experiments showed that women under stereotype threat, as compared to either control or stereotype boost participants, doubled the number of mistakes. Nevertheless, they overall expected/self-reported to drive/have driven poorly. Importantly, their level of expectation was a significant predictor of their actual driving performance only in the stereotype threat condition. Implications of these effects of stereotype threat on women's driving performance and self-assessment are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)199-206
Number of pages8
JournalAccident Analysis and Prevention
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015


  • Driving
  • Stereotype threat
  • Women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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