Women and computers

This experiment examined the influence of stereotype threat on attributions for failure involving women's performance on a computer-based task. Male and female college students were asked to find a document on the internet and to save it to a memory stick. Before doing so, they were informed that "women have previously performed worse than men have in this task" (stereotype threat for women), that "women have previously performed better than men have in this task" (stereotype threat for men), or were given no information about gender differences. Unbeknownst to the students, the memory stick was faulty so that all students failed to successfully complete the task. Following task failure, the students were asked to explain why they had failed at the task. Women who were placed under stereotype threat were more likely than men to attribute their failure to internal factors rather than external factors. There were no significant gender differences in the other two conditions. These data show that stereotype threat can lead individuals to blame themselves for failure.

Koch, S. C., Mller, S. M., & Sieverding, M. (2008). Women and computers. Effects of stereotype threat on attribution of failure. Computers & Education, 51, 1795-1803.

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