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Chapter 12

Stereotype Threat Chap12.docx

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Michael Inzlicht

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Chapter 12: Social Class and Test Performance – From Stereotype Threat to symbolic violence and vice versa  Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) scores strongly related to parental annual income  Rich get the best scores and the very poor get the lowest  Chapter  focuses on the ways in which stereotypes that portray the poor as not intelligent impact test achievement  Present research on the attitudes and stereotypes that people hold toward those who are poor  Poor people are victims of contemptuous stereotype that portray them as unintelligent and lazy  Research in psychometrics revels that on average, people who are better off have higher IQs than do the poor  After developing the first intelligence test, Binet discovered that children from affluent neighborhoods had superior intelligence than their peers living in the poor suburbs  Relationship b/w socioeconomic status (SES) and Scholastic Assessment test (SAT) scores are particularly illustrative  SAT, still measures “IQ” or intelligence to a large extent  Figure 12.1  Gradual increase of 10-70 points in SAT scores with each extra 20,000$ in parental annual income  Association is strong enough so that a student’s score could actually be guessed based on the car his/her parents drive  referred to as “Volvo Effect”  Herrnstein and Murry’s Bell Curve  individual and group differences in IQ are mainly a matter of heredity  Rich kids have higher IQs b/c they inherit smart genes from smarter parents  Some argue poor kids have lower IQ b/c they grow up in environments characterized by strong maternal deprivation and substandard schooling – social class  Test scores measure intelligence o Some argue that relationship b/w social class and IQ may be more informative of the property of the test itself rather than the attributes of the test-takers o Test items can be biased in their content and perhaps more indicative of a one’ familiarity with the white upper middle-class culture  Kelly’s Covariation principle of dispositional attribution: o Sameness of circumstances – the test situation is the same for all takers and sameness of stimuli – the test is the same for all and is not biased against certain groups STEREOTYPES ABOUT SOCIAL CLASS  Social class is a fundamental determinant of any individual’s life course and poverty is a pervasive problem in many industrialized countries  People still believe that social status is earned and that people are responsible for their social standing in society  People expect those who are poor to have lower intellectual ability   Researchers showed that stereotypes about the poor were largely negative; people from low SES groups were portrayed as being unintelligent, uneducated, unmotivated and irresponsible - they are disliked and disrespected and this attitude is widely spread across cultures STEREOTYPE THREAT AND SOCIAL CLASS  Stereotypes of inferiority can affect intellectual achievement  Research on stereotype threat and social class is largely underdeveloped  First study revealing stereotype threat effect related to social class (Croizet and Claire, 1998) O Undergraduates asked to take a difficult test adapted from the verbal section of GRE O Class was determined by parental occupation and education O Low SES  never finished high school and unskilled workers O High SES  parents had college degrees and held professional occupations O When participants were informed that the test was a measure of their cognitive ability, students from low SES background performed lower than their high SES peers O When told the test was a simple laboratory exercise, non-diagnostic of ability  The low SES students performed as well as the others  Harrison, Stevens, Monty and Coakley (2006)  had white and non-white college students take difficult math and verbal tests; and participants from lower, middle and upper classes  half of students test was framed to minimize stereotype threat to other half informed that it was a valid measure of math and verbal abilities   Demonstrated a stereotype threat effect related to social class on both verbal and math performances O Students of lower income performed worse on the task when it was presented as a valid test of their abilities than they did when it was characterized in a non-threatening way O Middle-class students were unaffected by the manipulation, those from upper class backgrounds performed better under the diagnostic condition than they did under the non-diagnostic condition  Spencer and Casteno  showed that mere salience of SES was enough to disrupt performance among the poor when the task was non-diagnostic, suggesting that there might be some cultural differences about the situation prevalence of class stereotypes in educational contexts  Research also shows that lower-income participants exposed to stereotype threat reported higher test anxiety, lower confidence in their ability to perform and lower identification with academic domains O Most disturbing findings concerning stereotypes threat related to social class is the fact that it affects performance on nonverbal IQ tests tat were specially developed to limit language biases in psychometric assessment  Findings were observed in children who were only 6/7 to 9 – suggesting that stereotype threat can affect achievement and student’s life very early on INTERSECTIONALITY AND STEREOTYPE THREAT  Research have demonstrated that even dominant groups can experience stereotype threat  Social settings are framed in a way that most of the group experiencing this predicament are from the bottom of the social hierarchy: blacks, Latinos’, the poor, women  The concept of intersectionality  refers to the reality that groups hold multiple statuses in society o Theoretically neglected but intersectionality
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