ConclusionExtending and Applying Stereotype Threat Research: A Brief Essay

Claude M. Steele

in Stereotype Threat

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780199732449
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199918508 | DOI:
ConclusionExtending and Applying Stereotype Threat Research: A Brief Essay

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This essay provides a capstone to this edited volume on stereotype threat by addressing three issues related to the original theory. First, stereotype threat arises when we could reasonably theorize that other people could see us stereotypically. But factors other than relevant stereotypes can make us feel this way. Thus, stereotype threat can be considered a specific instance of a more general “intersubjective” threat. The breadth of findings demonstrating stereotype threat effects reveal that this broader threat can play a bigger role in human social behavior than we have appreciated, and more basic theory and research on the role of intersubjectivity in psychological functioning is needed. Second, although critics have sometimes questioned the generalizability of stereotype threat beyond laboratory demonstrations, these questions of generalizability are better framed as a need to specify what moderates the effect. Because the experience of stereotype threat is conditional on a host of person and situation factors, it might not be meaningful to debate the generalizability of a unitary effect. Finally, policy questions regarding ways to reduce threat should be guided by answers about moderating variables. Situations in which threat is likely to be felt most strongly should be targeted for intervention, and successful intervention can be developed based on evidence of what alleviates threat.

Keywords: stereotype threat; intersubjective threat; generalizability; moderation; policy

Chapter.  2893 words. 

Subjects: Social Psychology

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