PSYC 2210 Lecture Notes - Stereotype Threat, Gender Role

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Published on 26 Jun 2012
York University
PSYC 2210
of 2
Social Psychology (Part II)
ŸConsequences of prejudice from the point of view of the target of prejudice, in specific, stereotype
ŸBy prejudice we are referring to a kind of attitude, a particular kind of evaluation, a negative one of a
group of people, who are defined by membership of same characteristics, race, ethnicity, occupational
status, age, sexual orientation, etc. (demographic characteristic)
ŸAn evaluation of the group as a whole
ŸA significant component of a prejudice is a stereotype, an over generalized and false belief, no
ŸPrejudice and stereotypes are things that we have, when we act on them, we are speaking on
discrimination; discrimination is something that we do, explicitly behaviour
ŸPrejudice is an attitude, discrimination is a belief, and discrimination is a behaviour
ŸTo discriminate is to treat people different based on their group membership, most common forms are
limiting access to resources, denying opportunities such as jobs, economic opportunities
ŸWhere do our prejudices come from? Many sources of prejudices, but one commonly sited and studied
from a classic study is the Sherif Camp Study, kids were isolated in a camp and randomly assigned to
two different cabins which were isolated from each other, the cabins had characteristics that
represented two different things, rattlers and eagles, and participated in different activities as a group
ŸCompetitive interactions between two groups, and within a very short period of time, there was an
escalating extent of verbal and physical aggression, kids would tease each other, and eventually
escalated to camp invasions, destroy/remove property, etc., emerged spontaneously
ŸEach group wanted to elevate their status within their group
ŸConclusion was that competition cultivated a kind of out group denigration, condemned members of
out groups
ŸThrough the course of evolution, this might have had an adaptive value, in earlier points of history
when we were in tribal bands, this kind of ability may have been of benefit (favour people from one’s
own group from another)
ŸConsequences of these actions, prejudice, are stereotype threats, a particular kind of discomfort or
distress, when they are representing their group on some kind of performance related activity
ŸImagine a member of a group that is under discrimination, and they are seen weaker in some kind of
ability, and now you must perform it, the theory goes, this additional burden that you are aware that
you are bad at this ability, and you have to perform as good as everyone else and better than what
others expect, and these kinds of cognitions, confirms the stereotype that people have of you due to the
Ÿe.g. study of women who were asked to do a math test, and prior to taking it, they were told there were
gender differences on the test, it was left for the women to assume that women did more poorly, and
under this condition, it was compromised, and by just being told that women did poorly, the drop in
performance was obtained (they simply affirmed and confirmed the stereotype, that math is hard for
ŸTeen talking Barbie doll, the doll uttered ‘math is hard’, which caused much controversy
ŸThis didn’t happen in the 50s or 70s, but in 1992, pervasive and persistent beliefs, in our generation
ŸCan the fact that people in fact believe this in women, actually play a role in math related domains?
ŸIt is of interest to note that in the domains for math, science, and engineering, women are under
represented, just in undergraduate classrooms as of 1996,1997, women made up 1/3 of these programs
(overwhelming male predominant field)
ŸWhat is it that makes your gender salient? What brings your gender to mind? Just by simply looking
around their classroom and seeing a smaller attendance of women discourages them, makes your
gender salient, and play a role in compromising your role in that context
ŸIs a situational cue, like gender composition, relative number of men vs. women, enough to create a
threatening stereotypical climate, where stereotypes are in your mind, conscious or not
ŸStudy of women, one group took a standardized math test, and two groups that had no gender
stereotpye salient, a verbal test
ŸAnother set of conditions, referred to group composition, they were in the room with two other people,
either of two other women, or two other men (one woman vs. two men, or one women vs. two
women)à would this change performance on a test, and in particular a math test?
Ÿ(slide 8) there was a direct relationship, when women took verbal test with women/men, there was no
difference, performance was the same (no stereotype), but when women take math test, her
performance is compromised when taking it with men in a minority condition (additional burden to her
performance to represent her gender), but while in performance of other women, their performance is
substantially improved
ŸSheer minority status can bring gender to mind and activate gender stereotyped behaviour
ŸInzlicht and Ben-Zeev did similar study with male and females, and they all took a test of math, no
verbal test, so either you were female undergrad and saw two men or two women, or you were male
who took test with two men or two women, same sex or minority environment
ŸPerformance for men did not matter if they were with two men or two women, because there is no
negative gender stereotype threat, but women were affected just like the other experiment
ŸThree conditions for women, one with no men, one with one man, and one with two men (slide 10),
with every addition to a man with the women, there was a similar corresponding linear decline in
performance of the math test (linear relationship)
Ÿ‘…I will count’, see how many others in the room are like that individual, seems to be a conscious
process, but its not consciously required, the theory does not require it
ŸIts impact and consequential, remarkable phenomena, naturally occurring features that trigger this
(more men in a physics class)à raises topics of men and women in the same environment and how it
affects their performance