Stereotype threat in the classroom: Dejection mediates the disrupting threat effect on womens math performance

This study assessed emotional responses following performance on a math task as a function of stereotype threat. Male and female German high school students completed a difficult math task under one of two conditions. Whereas half of the students were told that the task tends to produce gender differences with men outperforming women (stereotype threat for women), the other half were told that there were no gender differences on the task (control). Consistent with previous stereotype threat findings, boys and girls performed equally when gender differences were not mentioned, but girls performed worse than boys under stereotype threat. Girls under stereotype threat were more likely to show evidence of dejection following performance (i.e., endorse emotional terms "disappointed," "frustrated," and "sad"), and those emotions predicted performance on the test. Stereotype threat did not affect perceived performance, suggesting that emotions were produced, rather than resulted from poor performance.

Keller, J., & Dauenheimer, D. (2003). Stereotype threat in the classroom: Dejection mediates the disrupting threat effect on womens math performance. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 29, 371381.

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