Gender moderates the impact of stereotype threat on cognitive function in cannabis users
This study investigated the role of stereotype threat in cognitive functioning involving the cannabis user stereotype. A sample of cannabis users (N = 57; 30 male, 27 female) were given an article stating either that cannabis consumption impairs cognitive functioning (stereotype threat) or that it had no effect on cognitive functioning (control). A series of cognitive tests were then administered. Results showed that stereotype threat interacted with participant gender. Men in the threat condition performed worse than those in the control condition, whereas the opposite was true for women. Indeed, women performed significantly better on cognitive tests in the threat condition. One possible explanation for this reversal among women is that women may not identify as strongly with the cannabis user stereotype compared with men. These findings suggest that heavy cannabis users impaired performance in cognitive functioning may be due at least in part to stereotype threat.