An Integration of Processes that Underlie Stereotype Threat

Toni Schmader and Sian Beilock

in Stereotype Threat

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780199732449
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199918508 | DOI:
An Integration of Processes that Underlie Stereotype Threat

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The theory of stereotype threat has captivated those who have long struggled to understand why some groups of people seem to systematically underperform in certain domains. But although early research on the theory provided dramatic examples that even very subtle reminders of being negatively stereotyped could impair performance, it has been only recently that research has identified the processes by which these performance impairments occur. In this chapter, we provide a summary of how situations of stereotype threat set in motion both automatic processes that activate a sense of uncertainty and cue increased vigilance toward the situation, one’s performance, and oneself; as well as controlled processes aimed at interpreting and regulating the resulting negative thoughts and feelings that the negative stereotype can induce. By articulating the integration of these component cognitive and emotional processes, we are then able to identify how policy changes and interventions can combat stereotype threat both by facilitating changes to people’s stereotypes and by providing individuals with the tools they need to better cope with the threat.

Keywords: stereotype threat; working memory; automatic and controlled processes; self-regulation

Chapter.  7696 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Social Psychology

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