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Chapter 2

Chapter 2 The Role of Situational Cues in Signalling and Maintaining Stereotype Threat.doc

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Michael Inzlicht

Stereotype Threat Chapter 2: The Role of Situational Cues in Signalling and Maintaining Stereotype Threat Stereotype Threat: A Person in Context - Stereotype threat theory posited that these differences might be attributed to features of the situation - When situational cues in a setting make a stereotype salient and relevant to one's actions, the resulting psychological pressure to disprove the stereotype might depress academic performance The Role of Cues and Vigilance in Stereotype Threat - When situational cues signal an identity's value or importance in a setting, that particular group membership becomes more salient than the others and a vigilance process is initiated - During the vigilance phase of stereotype threat, people's attention is directed to other situational cues in the environment to determine whether the identity may be a liability - Two appraisals are possible: 1. If cues in social environment disconfirm the possibility that one's social identity will likely be a source of stigma, devaluation or mistreatment, vigilance relaxes 2. If cues in social environment confirm the possibility that one's social identity will likely be a source of stigma, devaluation or mistreatment, vigilance relaxes - Murphy et al. study with MSE Majors: • Women majors who watched the gender-unbalanced video remembered more MSE-related cues planted in the lab room, including MSE textbooks, journals, posters, etc. than did other groups • The situational cues of numeric representation caused these women to engage in vigilance process - Individuals differ with regard to the likelihood and intensity that they engage the vigilance process Situational Cues in Academic Setting - Academic settings and situational cues: The primary goal of these studies has been to investigate the processes that govern or modulate these performance effects - Original theory: two cues reliably produce stereotype threat among groups whose intellectual abilities are negatively stereotyped: 1. Diagnosticity of a test 2. The relevance of a stereotype to people's test performance - The diagnosticity cue makes it clear that one's intelligence and competence is on the line and will be evaluated - Linking one's identity to one's performance or future potential subtly suggests diagnosticity and relevance - Highlighting the potential for evaluation also intensifies stereotype threat - Stereotypes thereby are made relevant by emphasizing a test's importance, explicitly linking it to other, presumably more important abilities, such as one's general intelligence or future academic potential - All that appears necessary for stereotype threat effects to emerge, particularly in high-stakes testing situation of personal importance, is that individuals are both aware of the stereotype and aware that the performance task is diagnostic of the ability in question - Organization of a setting significantly moderates stereotype threat effects - The physical arrangements and presence of certain groups within a setting are subtle, but powerful situational cues affecting stigmatized individuals - Davies et al.: • Showed women and men three commercials: stereotypical woman, neutral, non- stereotypic woman • Relative to the neutral ads, the stereotypic ads activated gender stereotypes and reduced women's inclinations to occupy leadership roles • Stereotypic commercial depressed women's subsequent performance on a non- diagnostic math test • Counter stereotypic commercial: men and women performed well - Logel et al.: • Other people's behaviour can trigger stereot
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