A particular resiliency to threatening environments
This paper examined whether differences in self-monitoring (i.e., the ability to regulate ones expressions to cultivate a desired public image) might moderate stereotype threat effects. Individuals high in self-monitoring were expected to show fewer performance decrements under numerical-minority status (a condition that typically creates stereotype threat) because their habitual and well-practiced impression-management strategies reduce the threat imposed by situations involving potential stereotype confirmation. Experiment 1 tested this hypothesis by having math-identified female undergraduates complete a difficult math test either in the presence of one female and two males (minority status) or three females (same-sex). High self-monitors tended to outperform low self-monitors in the minority status condition, although this effect was not statistically significant. Somewhat surprisingly, low self-monitors outperformed high self-monitors in the same-sex condition. Experiment 2 focused on the performance of Black undergraduates who completed a difficult verbal test in the presence of one Black and two Whites, two Blacks and one White, or three Blacks. Before completing the test, a measure of stereotype activation was administered. In the presence of two Whites, high self-monitors outperformed low self-monitors and this pattern also emerged in the condition in which there was one White. Performance generally decreased as a function of the number of Whites in the testing environment, regardless of self-monitoring. Self-monitoring effects were absent in the same-race condition. Stereotypes regarding African-Americans were more accessible to the degree that there were more Whites in the testing environment, but the effects of this increased accessibility differed as a function of self-monitoring. High self-monitors' performance increased, but low self-monitors' performance tended to decrease, with greater stereotype accessibility. These findings suggest that individuals high in self-monitoring are resilient to pressures typically posed by minority status situations.