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What are the mechanisms behind  Stereotype Threat?

Stereotype threat effects have been shown in many different situations involving a variety of stereotypes. Although stereotype threat effects appear to be robust, the specific mechanisms by which stereotype threat harms performance is still not entirely clear. This ambiguity likely reflects that fact that stereotype threat probably produces several different consequences, each of which can contribute to decreased performance (Steele, Spencer, & Aronson, 2002). Steele and Aronson (1995), for example, speculated that distraction, narrowed attention, anxiety, self-consciousness, withdrawal of effort, or even overeffort might all play a role. Research has provided support for the role of some of these factors, at least in some contexts.

Anxiety
Anxiety

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Negative Cognitions and Dejection Emotions

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Negative Cognitions
 
Lowered Performance Expectations

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Lowered Performance Expectations
 
Physiological Arousal

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Physiological Arousal
 
Reduced Effort

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Reduced Effort
 
Reduced Self-Control

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Reduced Self-Control
 
Reduced Working Memory Capacity

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Reduced Working Memory Capacity
 
Reduced Creativity, Flexibility & Speed

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Reduced creativity, flexibility
 
Excess Effort

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Excess Effort
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