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Psychology (9,578)
PSYC12H3 (294)
Chapter 18


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Michael Inzlicht

Chapter 18: An Identity Threat Perspective on Intervention Introduction  Interventions that closed the achievement gap – invoking high standards for performance, encouraging optimistic interpretations of adversity and buttressing students’ sense of belonging and self-integrity.  Stereotype threat makes a person adaptive but it can lead to raising stress, depleting limited mental resources and undermining performance  It can also erode a person’s feelings of comfort, belonging and trust  Inequality has psychological and structural causes as well therefore psychological interventions need to be considered along with structural approaches  Stereotype threat is a general phenomenon of identity threat  Social identity threat, the group form of this threat, arises when people realize that they could be devalued on the basis of their group for any reasons  Identity threat can depress cognitive functioning and emotional wellbeing especially when chronic and experience in a domain like school or work, where outcomes have material and symbolic consequences Moving From Lab to Field: Conceptualizing Identity Threat in Real World Settings  Laboratory research suggests several effective steps for reducing stereotype threat o Exposing students to role models who disconfirm the stereotype through their competence o Encouraging people to see performance gaps between groups as due to social rather than genetic factors o Having people call to mind an alternative positively stereotyped identity to hold o Adequate representation of the stereotyped group in the class room or workplace  Threats act as restraining force on potential of performance o It prevents positive forces in both the person and the environment from asserting their full impact on performance and learning o Threat may also make negative factors gain a larger role in outcomes o Psychological forces can limit the efficiency of the school system  Attributional retraining o Students are taught to attribute setbacks to factors unrelated to the stereotype or lack of belonging, instead asked to attribute to common challenges inherent in school o Ineffective when not coupled with objective opportunities to grow such as poor instruction but when done with excellent instruction, there were better results  Feedback from Teacher to Student o Student growth linked to quality of feedback from mentors o This is dependent on the level of trust between feedback giver and receiver – if a white person gave feedback to an African American student, student less likely to incorporate feedback due to mistrust same with man feedback giver and female student, less likely to incorporate feedback  How to convey feedback more effectively o Gave back identical feedback with additional message that he had high standards and his personal assurance that the student in question had the potential to reach those standards o Students who received this version of feedback were more likely to incorporate feedback to improve  Small interventions when attuned to important psychological processes can have large effects  Theory informed strategies could alleviate identity threat and close gaps in the ability to benefit from educational opportunity Approach to Real World Intervention  Our intervention approaches rests on three ideas: levers, recursion and dynamic nature of social systems o Psychological levers: are points in a complex system where targeted intervention can produce no intuitively large and long term effects – impact psychological motives for belonging, self-integrity and competence o Interventions that incorporate these principles convey to students that they belong, have self- integrity and can achieve a higher standards  Social interventions also interrupt downward spirals of self-exacerbating cycles – stereotype threat lowers achievement which enhances stereotype threat etc.  An intervention is part of a dynamic social system and it may provide the first spark in a chain reaction  Students who do better early on may come to feel efficacious in school, believe in the malleable nature of intelligence and trust their teachers all of which can contribute to better performance  Early differences, even when small, can snowball into large effect over time, as feedback loops both compound initial differences in performance and broaden their consequences (This can be both good and bad) o Very athletic early on age – this leads you to other possibilities and opportunities earlier on in your life and more likely to happen more often, just need to get your big break!  Small differences at an early age become magnified over time, making it increasingly difficult to catch up or enter a discipline later  Identity engagement model – incorporates notions of levers, recursion and dynamic interaction o People’s group identity will be psychological engaged if they think it could cause them to be judged or treated negatively  African Americans will become more vigilant when their identity is engaged in school and work environments because they know they are more likely to viewed negatively in these domains o Threat appraisal – disconfirmation  People tend to feel treated as individuals o Threat appraisal – confirmation  If they can cope with threat – leads to sustained or improved learning and performance
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