Stereotype threat in men on a test of social sensitivity

This study assessed whether men are susceptible to stereotype threat regarding social sensitivity. Men and women undergraduates completed a test after it was described as measuring either "social sensitivity" on which "men do worse than women" (stereotype threat for men) or "complex information processing" (control). The test was actually the Interpersonal Perception Task (IPT-15; Costanzo & Archer, 1993) that assesses individuals' accuracy in interpreting others' expressive behavior. Men performed more poorly on the task in the stereotype threat compared with the control condition, but women did not differ in their performance between conditions. Moreover, men in the stereotype threat condition who reported using more deliberate, and less intuitive strategies showed larger decrements in performance, but this was not true for women or for men in the control condition. This is suggestive that stereotype threat might have reduced mens cognitive capacity, harming performance when they attempted to use a more deliberative strategy. This study provides another example of stereotype threat with a group (men) not typically stigmatized and offers some insight regarding the specific reason that threat harmed their interpersonal perception.

Koenig, A. M., & Eagly, A. H. (2005). Stereotype threat in men on a test of social sensitivity. Sex Roles, 52, 489-496.

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