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Stereotype Threat Notes.docx

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Michael Inzlicht

Situational Cues • Stereotype threat (ST) = concern that one might inadvertently confirm an unwanted belief about one’s group • Social identity theory: o Social identity = your gender, age, race, etc. o Situational cues (sit. cues) can make some aspects of identity more salient than others and activate a vigilance process (= increased attention to sit. cues + increased physio) • 2 sit cues that reliably lead to ST: o 1) diagnosticity of test (feeling like the test is a valid predictor and will say something about you) o 2) relevance of stereotype (if a stereotype is mentioned/activated in your mind, or racist/sexist attitudes around you, being asked what your race/gender is, etc.) • Sometimes no additional cues are even needed if the test is already so important to you, like the SATs. In fact, it is often the original response to have a test activate stereotypes and so it takes an explicit rebuttal to fix this. o But: while explicit is better than subtle for showing women they won’t be judged -vely bc of stereotypes, minority races “believe it more” when it’s subtle • Ppl from all social groups can be affected by ST • Sit cues are especially effective if they impact your behaviour (behv) o Ex. Sitting with people of the same “group” as you because you notice everyone in the caf is doing the same (i.e. Mean Girls) • Cues can be either identity-threatening or identity-safe/affiming List of Concerns Individuals Can Have • ST concerns: worried about being interpreted -vely bc of stereotypes or potentially confirming them • Belonging: feeling like you can be yourself (i.e. openly gay), will I be accepted? o Cues: presence/ absence of other members of your group, propaganda supporting equality (ex. GSA posters)  Critical mass = # of identity group members that need to be present for you to feel like you will not be judged • Authenticity: will others treat me like the exemplar of my group rather than an individual? • Trust + Fairness: will I get a fair chance/equal opportunity? • Discrimination + Devalution = will I be -vely treated? • Margnializaiton/Ghettoization/Social Exclusion: Will I be seen as strange, abnormal, nonmainstream? o Cues: is the environment segregated? Has my social identity historically been excluded? Underlying Processes • Originally thought the mechanisms might be: o Anxiety o -ve stereotype priming o But both are overly simplistic • It includes cognitive + affective components and automatic + controlled processes • ST  increased motivation to avoid any behv that would be stereotypical (even ones unrelated to the particular moment, i.e. African Americans report decreased liking of rap music during a test) • ST an affect performance without conscious awareness of stereotypes being activated o Can be conscious too, but most are outside awareness and result in opposite outcomes as the person’s intent • ST can result bc of a cognitive imbalance between 3 concepts: o Group: “this group stereotype exists” o Self: “I am a member of this group” o Ability Domain: “This ability is important to me and I don’t want to fit this stereotype and do poorly” o Each of these 3 concepts has an individual and a situational component o If all 3 concepts are activated, most ST experienced • One way to fix this cog imbalance (which leads to uncertainty , which is a -ve state of arousal), is to “fix” one of the concepts (i.e. detach from domain, detach from feeling like part of the group, “admit” the stereotype is true  this last one = thoughts of doubt) o *uncertainty states can actually be more aversive than -ve states  Thus, ambiguous cues can actually be more impactful than explicit • Once doubt is active, even outside of awarensss, it can decrease cog ability. And increase vigilance and the likelihood of interpreting ambiguous cues as s sign of failure • Increased vigilance also means increased motivation to avoid mistakes (error related negativity = ERN) • When we are stressed, i.e. in high arousal, simple tasks can be performed better. These simple tasks are reffered to as dominant/prepotent responses. o We can also do better even if the task is hard IF we have enough time to potentially correct mistakes • We are also more motivated to fix errors, but this requires controlled processing and can be hindered if there’s too much cog load. • Internal ruminations = distracting thoughts/worries about ST and most heavily impairs the phonological loop (= supports inner speech + thinking for complex cog tasks) o Verbal working memory (WM) is the first aspect of WM to be affected • thus, automatic self-uncertainty  controlled doubts/ruminations • anxiety will further depreciate WM but only if thoughts of doubt already exist • central exec = proximal mediator = component of WM that involves attention, reg of thought/emotion, crit thinking, deliberate choices between alternatives, self-reg aka self- control, and suppression • ST  you try to suppre
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