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stereotype threat consequences vulnerable situations mechanisms reduce criticisms unresolved issues
Johns, Schmader, & Martens, 2005

This paper reports a study examining whether informing women about stereotype threat can improve performance on a test that would ordinarily provoke stereotype threat. Male and female college students completed a set of difficult math problems that were described either as a problem-solving task or as a math test. In a third condition, the task was described as a math test but students also were briefly told about stereotype threat and that it could negatively affect women's performance on the test. Specifically, students were told, "it's important to keep in mind that if you are feeling anxious while taking this test, this anxiety could be the result of these negative stereotypes that are widely known in society and have nothing to do with your actual ability to do well on the test." When the task simply was described as a math test, women performed worse than men, confirming previous findings. When the task was described as a problem-solving task or when women were taught about stereotype threat, the performance of women and men did not differ. This study suggests that teaching students about stereotype threat and providing a means for explaining the anxiety that might be experienced under it can reduce its negative consequences.

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