STEREOTYPE THREAT_chapter 18.docx

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Dwayne Pare

STEREOTYPE THREAT: CHAPTER 18: AN IDENTITY THREAT PERSPECTIVE ON INTERVENTION  An understanding of “identity threat” – psychological threat arising from possible devaluation of one’s group led to successful interventions that close the achievement gap in schools, a pervasive social problem in the U.S  Interventions include invoking high performance standards, encouraging optimistic interpretations of adversity and buttressing students’ sense of self-integrity and belonging  All interventions tested using randomized field experiments that assessed outcomes over long periods of time sometimes years  Interventions lead to positive academic trajectories for ethnic minority students and women in science and advanced a theoretical understanding of how identity threat compounds over time though recursive feedback loops  b/c of the self-reinforcing nature of recursive cycles, subtle but well timed interventions can have effects that appear disproportionate to their size and duration  making the jump from lab to field from theory to application can bring to light new theoretical principles related to psychological processes and intervention itself  b/c people know that members of their group have faced prejudice and discrimination and b/c they may have experienced these themselves, they may worry they could be judged or treated stereotypically  it can be costly to trust someone who could later prove untrustworthy  emotional, psychological and pragmatic costs of committing oneself to an endeavor or relationship, assuming fair treatment only to find otherwise can be doubly troubling  loss of time and energy and feeling of having been taken in  in school and work settings in the US, ethnic minorities may entertain the hypothesis that they could be stereotypes until they are provided with evidence to the contrary  women in math and science may experience similar concerns  the concern that one may be viewed through the lens of a stereotype, stereotype threat can raise stress, deplete mental resources and undermine performance  it can erode people’s sense of comfort, belonging and trust and lower their career aspirations  structural factors are seen as source of inequality  inequality can arise from differences in people’s perceptions, their subjective contruals  groups may differ in their subjective contruals at school or work b/c of real historical antecedents  such construals can reinforce objective inequalities  when members of a group underperform b/c they perceive that they could be stereotypes, their educational, economic and career opportunities diminish  b/c inequality has psychological and structural causes, psychological interventions need to be considered along with structural approaches  stereotype threat can occur regardless of the objective prejudice in an environment  mere possibility that one can be seen negatively can prove threatening  all of us belong to groups that in one setting or another can cast us as outsides  when we care about succeeding in the setting, the sense of being seen as an outsider can be debilitating  such concerns can arise from widely known negative stereotypes about our groups  a white basketball player may worry about confirming in the minds of others that “white men can’t jump” stereotype to such an extent that it undermines his or her vertical leap performance  AAs and latino Americans at school or work and women in math and science may underperform b/c of stress arising from possibly confirming a negative stereotype about their ethnic or gender group  Stereotype threat is an example of identity threat  Social identity threat, the group form of this threat arises when people realize that they could be devalued on the basis of their group for any reason  b/c the threat is directed at one’s group, one need not experience it personally  AAs and women felt threatened displaying lower self-esteem and worse performance when they thought that someone else in their group could perform poorly and thus lend credence to the stereotype  Like any psychological stressor, identity threat can depress cognitive functioning and emotional well-being, especially when chronic and experienced in a domain like school or work where outcomes have material and symbolic consequences MOVING FROM LAB TO FIELD: CONCEPTUALIZING IDENTITY THREAT IN REAL- WORLD SETTINGS  Exposing students to role models who disconfirm the stereotype through their competence encouraging people to see performance gaps between groups as due to social rather than genetic factors and having people call to mind an alternative, positively stereotypes identity they hold such as “high-achieving college student”  Structural strategy to reduce stereotype threat is to ensure adequate representation of the stereotyped group in the classroom or workplace  Picture of stereotype threat emerging from these studies is of a process that’s powerful but malleable  Although stereotype threat causes dramatic decrements in performance, small changes in lab can free people of its effects  It’s possible to manipulate a person’s subjective construal in the lab for the better o Such lab research proved to be critical in the development of social-psychological interventions that closed achievement gaps in schools  In the field, unlike the lab, a blizzard of competing cues could offset the effect of any positive intervention  More understanding needed on how identity threat and intervention processes play out over time and interact with other factors in social environments FIG 18.1 – shows how psychological threats including identity threat affect performance  Threat acts as a restraining force  It prevents positive forces in both the person and the environment from asserting their full impact on performance and learning  A student may have the ability to excel, but stereotype threat may prevent the expression of that ability as when a skilled athlete chokes under pressure  Opportunities for learning may present themselves, but an intimidated student may fail to take advantage of them  Threat can make negative factors gain a larger role in outcomes  Poor performance due to stereotype threat can make it more likely that a student will be assigned to remediation or held back in grade  Psychological forces can limit the efficiency of the school system  Effective social psychological interventions lessen threat and enable positive forces to assert their impact more fully and help constrain forces that could have a negative impact  Psychological and strucutal approaches aren’t mutually exclusive, but complementary  Both are necessary for optimal performance, neither is sufficient  Attributional retraining – psychological intervention  Students are taught to attribute setbacks to factors unrelated to the stereotype or a lack of belonging  They are encouraged to attribute them to common challenges inherent in school o Interventions can dramatically improve performance  They can prove ineffective and even counterproductive when unaccompanied by objective opportunities for growth  Sttributional retraining paired with poor instruction produced no improvement in performance for students with a history of failure  When paired with high-quality instruction, it produced a level of performance on par with that of their peers w/o a history of failure  Explored the effects of identity threat in an interpersonal arena with implications for learning rather than in more common test-taking situationteacher and student  Strongest predictor of student growth is quality of feedback from mentors  Such feedback is seen as a fundamental aspect of pedagogy by the educational community  If an AA student receives critical feedback froma white teacher, there is potetntial for mistrust  AA may wonder if feedback reflects a genuine intent to help or if it instead reflects a biased judgment of his or her ability  When AA students were led to believe that a white college prof had given them critical feedback on an essay, they saw that feedback as more biased than did white students and felt less motivated to revise their essay  College science majors received critical feedback ona research presentation from someone they were led to believe was a male science prof  Compared with male students, females incorporated fwer of the suggestions for improvement into arevision of their research presentation  Critical feedback – a structural factor that should facilitate learning and motivation had a positive effect only for the nonthreatened group  Methodology ensured that nonstereotyped and stereotypes students received virtually identical feedback, the trwo groups perceived it differently  Contrary to a color blind philosophy, uniform instruction didn’t have uniform effects  Designed an experiment to defl
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