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Chapter 1

PSYC12H3 Chapter Notes - Chapter 1: Stereotype Threat


Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSYC12H3
Professor
Michael Inzlicht
Chapter
1

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PSYC12 WINTER 2013
Chapter 1: Introduction (Inzlicht & Schmader)
Introduction
We live in increasingly diverse world with various ethnicities, religious affiliations and races
being represented in the different aspects of society from media, education, business etc. and this
is only further facilitated with technology that assists with global communication, collaboration
and education
As a society we are seeking to not only increase intergroup harmony but also eliminate group
disparities in academic performace, career opportunities and levels of advancement which sadly
hasn’t been vanquished
Dearth of women in technology, mathematics, engineering, and science and top leadership
positions
What Causes the Achievement Gap?
Nature vs. Nurture Debate
o Nature: Women and certain racial minorities are supposedly endowed with lesser intellect
o Nurture: racial, ethnic and religious minorities and women are products of sociocultural
environments that frustrate the development of the appropriate skills, values, and
motivation needed for success
Low income, being female and pushed towards non science and tech
Ultimately these debates assert that whether due to biology or the accrued effects of upbringing,
people belonging to marginalized groups have less ability
Despite controlling for genetic predispositions, educational background and personal values,
something in the situation impacts marginalized groups and holds them back from reaching their
full potential
This something is the existence of social stereotypes and stereotype threat which interferes with
intellectual functioning, academic engagement s and setting the stages for later differences in
educational attainment, career choice and job advancement
Stereotype Threat
Stereotype threat: situational predicament in which individuals are at risk, by dint of their actions
or behaviors, of confirming negative stereotypes about their group
Examples: African Americans well aware of stereotype about their intellectual ability they may
fear confirming the stereotype fear of stereotype confirmation can hijack the cognitive systems
required for optimal performance and result in low test performances
Steele & Aronson, 1995: Blacks performed better on a set of verbal ability problems when they
were described as a simple lab task than when they were described as a diagnostic measure of
intelligence
Increased academic and public interest in stereotype threat it side steps entire nature vs. nurture
debate and focuses on situational factors that impact performance
Situational cues can be the mere presence of a majority group in the room, to content of media
Interventions can easily remedy the effects of stereotype threat
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