The ups and downs of attributional ambiguity: Stereotype vulnerability and the academic self-knowledge of African American college students
These experiments examined self-assessments of ability and performance among Blacks who expected to be judged in terms of racial stereotypes. In Experiment 1, Black and White undergraduates were asked to complete items from the verbal section of the GRE exam and to indicate the likelihood that each response was correct. Blacks who indicated that they often expect to be judged in stereotypical terms performed more poorly, but were more likely to indicate that their responses were correct than those who did not expect to be stereotyped. Blacks who did not expect to be judged in terms of stereotypes performed as well and were as accurate in their performance judgments as were White participants. In Experiment 2, Blacks and Whites regularly reported on their academic self-efficacy, athletic self-efficacy, and self-esteem over an 8-day period. Blacks who expected to be stereotyped showed higher variability in their reported academic efficacy over time, but showed no difference in the other domains. These results show that expectations of prejudice can affect accuracy of judgments about one's performance and academic efficacy. Inaccurate self-views and unstable efficacy can increase vulnerability to difficulty or negative feedback in academic contexts.