Developmental antecedents and social and academic consequences of stereotype-consciousness in middle childhood

This study investigated the knowledge children have of others stereotypes (i.e., stereotype-consciousness). Children between ages 5 and 11 (N = 124) completed an interview to measure their ability to infer another persons stereotypes and their knowledge of commonly held stereotypes. They also completed a digit span test that had been described either as diagnostic of ability (stereotype threat for girls) or as nondiagnostic of ability (control). Parents completed measures assessing their racial socialization and general parenting practices. Children generally showed awareness of others stereotypes and were aware of broadly held stereotypes. Moreover, the age of onset of childrens stereotype-consciousness was similar across different ethnicities. African American and Latino children who were aware of broadly held stereotypes performed worse on working memory tasks when these tasks were framed as diagnostic of their ability. However, performance in both conditions remained consistent for children who came from non-stereotyped ethnic groups and who were not aware of broadly held stereotypes. These results show that stereotype awareness in children increases their susceptibility to stereotype threat.

McKown, C., & Strambler, M. J. (2009). Developmental antecedents and social and academic consequences of stereotype-consciousness in middle childhood. Child Development, 80, 1643-1659.

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