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Chapter 3

PSYC12H3 Chapter Notes - Chapter 3: Stereotype Threat, Black Kids, The Automatic

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Michael Inzlicht

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PSYC12 Inzlicht & Schmader
Chapter 3 An Integration of Processes that Underlie Stereotype Threat
1. Stereotype Threat is What Stereotype Threat Does
1.1. This section focuses on the psychological effect of stereotype threat
1.2. Stereotype type threat characterizes a concern that one might inadvertently confirm an unwanted belief about
one’s group. As a result, those who experience stereotype threat have a motivation to avoid enacting any
behaviour that might be seen as stereotypical
1.2.1. E.g., women in math and sciences report dressing in less feminine ways
1.2.2. Automatic Activation of Threat Awareness of stereotype does not have to be consciously activated to affect someone’s
performance Many of the processes instigated by being the target of negative stereotypes happen
automatically, outside of conscious awareness Situations that cue stereotype threat activate a schema of that stereotype Activating the stereotype might lead to stereotype threat only to the extent that it cues an
imbalance between three relevant propositions: I am a member of group G, group G is expected to
do poorly at domain D, but I do well at domain D It is the logical inconsistency among these propositions that actually constitute
stereotype Situations of stereotype threat raise competing possible outcomes (e.g., I could do poorly as the
stereotype predicts, or I could do well, consistent with my goals and past experience) One’s attention becomes focused on cues that might provide evidence for or against either
alternatives. One’s attention is likely to be oversensitive in its detection of any sign that could
indicate that unwanted outcome. Cues that might be otherwise innocuous, such as making a simple
arithmetic error while solving math problems can be overinterpreted as a sign of failure E.g., when measuring error related negativity (ERN), researchers found that black kids
that do well academically show greater vigilance than other black kids, when the test is
assumed to measure their intelligence
1.2.3. In sum: situations of stereotype threat brings to mind thoughts about one’s relation to a valued domain
that conflict with one’s relation to a valued group that is stereotyped to do poorly (blacks and intelligence).
This cognitive inconsistency triggers certain automatic effects, including a sense of uncertainty and
increased vigilance toward cues that might help one to detect, with the goal of avoiding, behaviour that
could confirm the stereotype
1.2.4. Explicit Efforts to Manage the Situation and One’s Response The automatic processes that negative self-relevant stereotypes set in motion are accompanied
by a number of controlled processes that can affect performance often for the worse but
sometimes for the better Increased Effort at the Task When faced with stereotype threat, people tend to have increased drive to perform
well, which increase activation of the dominant response to the task. The problem is that one’s
dominant response is not always the best response to achieve success Performance will be enhanced if the task is one that relies on a cognitively simple or
well-learned thought process or behaviour. If the task is more cognitively challenging,
performance may be inhibited Research shows that when women are told that a certain activity determines their
ability to excel at math, they tend to be more aroused and more motivated to do well. If they
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