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Chapter 2

PSYC12H3 Chapter Notes - Chapter 2: Stereotype Threat, Machismo, Critical Mass

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Michael Inzlicht

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PSYC12 Inzlicht & Schmader
Chapter 2 The role of situational cues in signaling and maintaining stereotype threat
1. Stereotype Threat: A Person In Context
1.1. Rather than theorizing about these causes as rooted in one’s culture or lack of preparation, stereotype threat
theory posited that these differences might be attributed to features of the situation
1.1.1. When situational cues in a setting make a stereotype salient and relevant to one’s actions, the resulting
psychological pressure to disprove the stereotype might depress academic performance
1.2. The Role of Cues and Vigilance in Stereotype Threat
1.2.1. Social identity theory assumes that each person has multiple social identities (e.g., gender, age, race,
socioeconomic status)
1.2.2. When situational cues signal an identity’s value or importance in a setting, that particular group
membership becomes more salient and a vigilance (keeping careful) process is initiated
1.2.3. During the vigilance phase, two appraisals are possible If the cues in the environment disconfirm the possibility that one’s social identity will be a
source of stigma, the vigilance relaxes If the cues confirm the possibility that one’s social identity is likely to be negatively evaluated,
vigilance increases
1.2.4. Murphy’s research on men and women in Math, Science, and Engineering (MSE) found out that women
who watched a video about gender inequality in MSE tended to be more mentally and physiologically
vigilant, and they paid more attention to situational cues, both within the video and their local
environment, to determine the value of their gender identity in the MSE conference setting
1.2.5. The degree to which one identifies with a domain moderates stereotype threat effects
1.3. Situational Cues in Academic Settings
1.3.1. Two cues diagnosticity (helpfulness of evidence and argument) of a test and the relevance of a
stereotype to people’s test performance produced stereotype threat among groups whose intellectual
abilities are negatively stereotyped
1.3.2. Research has shown that linking one’s identity to one’s performance or future potential subtly suggests
diagnosticity and relevance
1.3.3. Stereotypes thereby are made relevant by emphasizing a test’s importance, explicitly linking it to other,
presumably more important abilities, such as one’s general intelligence or future academic potential
1.3.4. Research has also shown that the number f whites or men in a setting can significantly affect the
performance of racial minorities and women
1.3.5. Thus, the physical arrangement and mere presence of certain groups within a setting are subtle, but
powerful, situational cues affecting stigmatized individuals
1.3.6. A study on performance of men and women after watching several commercials revealed how harmful
some commonplace cues can be
1.3.7. People’s behaviour can also trigger stereotype threat. Women use men’s body language as an indicator of
the potential for negative treatment and stereotyping Female engineers that interacted with a macho male student before an engineering exam did
worse, because they cognitively suppressed concerns about gender stereotypes in anticipation of
their test performance. This cognitive suppression ironically led to their subpar performance as it
depleted the cognitive resources required to excel on the test
2. Situational Cues and Social Identity Concerns
2.1. Stigmatized individuals experience more uncertainty in novel situations than do unstigmatized individuals
unsure whether others will judge them according to their identity, or whether their stigma will be a burden that
impinges on their outcomes
2.2. People wonder how their identity will matter for many social and personal outcomes
2.2.1. A female manager that just got promoted may wonder if management promoted her to have more female
presence at the management level
A list of concerns that may arise from situational cue:
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