Extending the concept of stereotype threat to social class: The Intellectual underperformance of students from low socioeconomic backgrounds
This experiment demonstrated stereotype threat effects based on social class. University students completed a task involving verbal problems as part of a course exercise. Unbeknownst to the students, information was also solicited that allowed classification of students as low or high in socioeconomic status (SES) based on their parents' occupation and the level of financial assistance being provided for them to attend university. Prior to completing the verbal problems, the task was described as designed to "assess your intellectual ability for solving verbal problems" (stereotype threat for low SES students), or to "test several hypotheses about the role attention plays in the functioning of lexical memory" (control). Low SES students solved fewer items than did high SES students, but this occurred only in the condition in which the task was described as assessing intellectual ability. This study showed that stereotype threat can occur based on expectations tied to social class and status.