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PSYC12H3 (298)
Chapter 2

Chapter 2 Stereo threat.docx

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Michael Inzlicht

Chapter 2: The Role of Situational Cues in Signaling and Maintaining Stereotype Threat  Initial aim: examine factors suppressing the intellectual performance of black students and women in math, science, and engineering o Particular interest b/c both ere underperforming in the classroom relative to their intellectual abilities o Academic ability and preparation = unlikely explanation Stereotype threat: A person in context  Stereo threat research shifted the paradigm o Rather than culture or lack of preparation, might be features of the situation o When situational cues make a stereotype salient and relevant to one’s actions, the resulting psychological pressure to disprove the stereotype might impede academic performance  How stereo threat is produced & sustained through situational cues in the environment o Meaning(s) in people derive from situational cues o Affects whether they become vulnerable to or protected against stero threat o Situational cues can create an atmosphere of identity safety alleviating stereotype threat effects The role of Cues and Vigilance in Stereotype Threat  Person has multiple social identities (gender, age, race etc)  When situational cues signal identity’s value in a setting, that particular group membership becomes more salient & a vigilance process is initiated  During the vigilance phase, attention is directed to other situational cues to determine whether the identity may be a liability  If cues disconfirm , vigilance relaxes BUT if situational cues confirm vigilance increases  Math, science, and engineering (MSE) o Study: male & female MSE majors watched a video advertising a prestigious MSE summer conference  Gender ration either 3 men & 1 woman OR balanced ratio o Measured participants’ psychological & physiological vigilance  Women who watched the 3:1 video reported less feeling of belonging  Were highly vigilant compared to women who watched gender balanced video  These women remembered more details of video & had faster <3 rate and sweatier palms  They rmbd more MSE related cues 9textbooks, science journals, posters etc  THUS MSE women engage in a vigilance process deploying attention to situational cues within the video & in their local enviro to determine the value of their gender identity in the MSE conference setting  Indiv’s differ in the intensity they engage in vigilance process o Some are particularly sensitive to identity-based rejection or highly conscious of stigma associated with their identity o Ppl have diff thresholds, some req just one strong situational cue while o/s might experience threat only when multiple cues converge o Certain situational cues= less threatening for ppl not personally invested in particular domains (eg: women who avoid MSE) o People more identified with their stereotyped social groups more vulnerable to setero threats  Vigilance processes shape people’s experiences in the future steering attention toward similar situational cues in new enviros  Stereo threat grounded in situational cues Situational Cues in Academic Settings:  Majority of studies examine women’s math performance or racial minorities academic performance  Two cues: diagnosticity of a test & relevance of a stereotype to test performance produce threat among groups negatively stereotyped  Diagnosticity makes it clear that one’s intelligence and competence is on the line and will be evaluated  Studies that evoke Stereo relevance oft inform participants that men are known to outperform women or that women’s performances will be compared to men’s  Research shows that linking one’s identity to performance or future potential subtly suggests diagnosticity o Ex: indicating gender on demographic q’s ↑’s salience of stereotypes related to those group memberships & reduces performance, both in lab and the world o Stereos made relevant by emphasizing a test’s importance (one’s general intelligence0  Stereo threat that emerge in high stake testing situations req indiv’s to be aware of stereo AND aware the performance task is diagnostic  Organization of a setting moderates stereo threat o Ex: # of whites or men in a setting affect performance of racial minorities and women o Experiment: women took a math test with 2 o/ females; one male and one female; OR 2 males  Linear decrease inmathe performance w/ each man added  Identity threatening cues cause cognitive, behavioural, and emotional disruptions  Study: tv commercials o Conditions of exp: 1. Neutral commercials 2. Gender-sereotypic depictions of women (ex: women fantasizes about being chosen prom queen) 3. Xountersterotypic depictions of women (ex: attractive women impresses man with knowledge of cars)  Stereotypic commercials activated gender stereos & reduced women’s inclinations to occupy leadership roles  Less interest in pursuing quantitative domains as a career  Affected women’s subsequent performance on math test whereas men & women who watched counterstereotypic commercials performed equally well  Final set of studies show o/ people’s behv can also trigger stereo threat o Hypothesize women might use men’s body language as an indicator of potential for neg treatment o Exp: male confederates did or didn’t display certain behavioural cues  Found confederate’s sexist behaviours disrupt performance of even highly skilled female engineering majors on an engineering test Situational cues and Social identity concerns:  Situational cues become meaningful to people to the extent that they imply some contingency between the cue and one’s outcomes in a setting
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