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PSYC12H3 (298)
Chapter 7

Stereotype Threat-Chap7.docx

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Michael Inzlicht

CHAPTER 7: STEREOTYPE THREAT SPILLOVER THE SHORT AND LONG-TERM EFFECTS OF COPING WITH THREATS TO SOCIAL IDENTITY  When people feel like t hey are being judged by a negative stereotype about their group, they perform poorly in the domain in which the stereotype applies – a phenomenon known as stereotype threat (Steele & Aronson)  In this chapter  Model detailing the social-psychological processes whereby someone confronted with a negative stereotype comes to suffer effects in areas unrelated to the source of threat, an experience called “stereotype threat spillover” o Short-term effects of spillover  aggression, risky decision-making, overeating o Long-term effects of spillover  physical health problems (obesity and hypertension, mental health issues like depression and anxiety)  Performance is hurt by a broader category of events – it can occur whenever cues hint that one’s social identity is devalued and marginalized, when one feels like the victim of social identity threat  Model detailing the steps involved in coping with stereotype and social identity threat o Stereotype threat as a stressor similar to those other stressors that targets of prejudice need to deal with like, economic hardships, and poor housing o Once appraised, stereotype and social identity threat result in involuntary stress reactions like physiological arousal and cognitive distraction and volitional coping responses, like thought suppression and attempts to emotion regulation o Both voluntary and involuntary reactions can consume self-regulatory resources, leaving people less able to control and regulate themselves in instances in which self-control is required o Stress have direct effects on a whole host of outcomes, which together with depletion can result in both short- and long-term consequences  Stereotype threat, however does not always spill over and cause havoc in variety of domains  Spill over is not inevitable but can be overcome with things like active coping, social support and the cultivation of resilience A STRESS AND COPING MODEL OF STEREOTYPE THREAT SPILLOVER  Figure 7.1 – presents model for “ stereotype threat spillover” social-psychological processes whereby someone confronted with a negative stereotype comes to suffer short- and long-term effects in areas unrelated to the source of threat  A stress and coping model of stereotype threat  Model assume that targets of prejudice are more at risk of facing social identity stress than non- targets  Shot term, stress prompts efforts to cope, draining energy required for other things, including making sound decisions and regulating emotions  Long term, this increased stress can directly and indirectly lead to physical and mental health problems such as hypertension, obesity and depression  This model begins with a classic “ person-by-situation interaction” o Situations and environments vary, with some being more threatening and some less o Threatening environments – people suspect they could be devalued, stigmatized or discriminated against b/c of a particular social identity o Environments may contain subtle, seemingly innocuous cues (e.g. # and positions of male: female bathrooms in the executive floor may be enough to send messages of acceptance ore rejection)  People differ in the extent to which they are aware of and bothered by negative stereotypes about their groups – a construct known as stigma-consciousness or group-based rejection-sensitivity o Individuals are vigilant for cues signaling that they are being viewed stereotypically and therefore more likely to appraise situations as threatening  Other individual differences is the extent to which people regard their devalued identity as a central part of themselves & how strongly they identify with domains in which their group is negatively stereotyped  Even the type of threat varies from person to person  States of uncertainty are significant b/c they are felt very keenly and sometimes more aversive than states of certain negativity o Once uncertain, ppl become acutely aware of cues that indicate whether their social-identity is in fact being threatened o “Identity-safe” environment  convey to individuals that their stigmatized social identities pose no barrier o If cues that confirm stereotype relevance are present in the environment, or if individuals are sensitive to discrimination - make threat appraisal, setting in motion a chain of stress and coping responses  People experience a physiological stress response characterized by increases in arousal and distracting thoughts that consume limited working memory capacity  These involuntary stress responses are accompanied by voluntary coping strategies (motivated to disconfirm negative stereotypes)  Once an individual confronts the possibility of failing, they may cope by suppressing harmful thoughts and denying uncomfortable emotions  Proximal mediator of the threat-performance link is loss of executive control  More executive control is used to manage the effects of stereotypes and identity threats, the less executive control remains for the central performance task and the less that remains after people leave the threatening environment  Extra compensatory coping efforts can result in a state known as ego depletion  refers to a state of compromised reserves of self-control, of having little mental energy to overcome environmental temptations and override urges, emotions and automatic response tendencies – affecting people long after they have left the threatening environment o Short term  ego depletion can lead to maladaptive behavior o Long term  have significant consequences in the state of people’s health; chronic exposure to stress – direct effects on health SHORT-TERM CONSEQUENCES SOF STEREOTYPE THREAT SPILLOVER  After leaving a threatening environment – people continue to exhibit maladaptive behaviors in domains unrelated to the original threat  Inzlicht and Kang  # of studies that stereotype threat can lead to aggression, overeating, risky decision making and problems maintaining attention  In their FIRST STUDY: o Examined whether coping with stereotype threat could lead to aggressive behavior among women o Extent that coping with stereotype threat results in ego depletion  result in unrestrained aggression o Female participants who took a difficult math test and half of them received instruction to reappraise the situation and test neutrally and objectively, as if they were professional test evaluators o Such reappraisal instruction, eliminate the need to suppress thoughts and emotions in order to cope with threat – thereby saving participants self-control resources o Other half of participants were given no further instruction about how to cope with situation and presumably engaged in the resource-depleting coping strategy – suppressing emotions and cognitions o Participants then completed competitive reaction time task against their partner o Whoever responded quicker to a stimulus was a
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