stereotype threat

Stereotype Threat

Contribution by Rohini Rau

Stereotype Threat

I just came across this term while googling Stereotype and was quite surprised at how relevant a topic it is. What is Stereotype threat?Stereotype threat is a situational predicament in which people are or feel themselves to be at risk of confirming negative stereotypes about their social group.

Basically for example let us use the gender stereotype, where girls study better than boys. Now if you are boy this has a negative impact to your performance because you believe the girls are going to score higher than you.

This also applies to other groups like students who come from higher income and lower income families who are thought to get better jobs. This forces the student from a lower income group to settle for less because he believes that’s all he is going to get.

This is a problem as it reduces performance of a student tremendously and widens the academic gap.

Stereotype threat is also prevalent in sports

  • Black athletes do worse than white athletes when they are led to believe that a game of miniature golf tests “sport strategic intelligence,” but when the test is framed as a measure of “natural athletic ability,” the white athletes do worse than the black athletes. (Stone et al., 1999)
  • Female chess players perform worse than male chess players when they are aware that they are playing against a male opponent. When they are (falsely) led to believe that they are playing against another woman, they perform just as well as the male players. (Maass, D’Etolle, & Cadinu, 2008)

There is also something called ‘Stereotype lift’ and ‘Stereotype boost’ which is the opposite of stereotype threat where people perform better than they otherwise would have due to positive stereotypes about their social group.

Decreased performance is the most recognized consequence of stereotype threat. It can cause individuals to blame themselves for perceived failures,self-handicap,discount the value and validity of performance tasks,distance themselves from negatively stereotyped groups,and disengage from situations that are perceived as threatening.

Therefore, I think it is important to know that something like this exists and be able to do something about it. After all knowledge is power and it is important to recognise it.

For more information do visit this website


'Stereotype Threat' have 1 comment

  1. March 12, 2015 @ 9:10 pm Mayran

    sad but true people are not aware of the enirte spectrum and just don’t seem to care that each person (while they display differently) has the same in common with all they can have there feelings hurt and are punished for doing exactly what everyone else is encouraged to do STAND UP FOR THEMSELVES and be RESPECTED


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