Stereotype threat is a situational predicament in which people are or feel themselves to be at risk of conforming to
Since its introduction into the academic literature, stereotype threat has become one of the most widely studied topics in the field of
However, studies have cautioned that stereotype threat should not be interpreted as a factor in real-world performance gaps. Multiple reviews have raised concerns that the effect has been over-estimated for schoolgirls and that the field likely suffers from
The opposite of stereotype threat is stereotype boost, which is when people perform better than they otherwise would have, because of exposure to
As of 2011, more than 300 published papers show the effects of stereotype threat on performance in a variety of domains. The strength of the stereotype threat that occurs depends on how the task is framed. If a task is framed to be neutral, stereotype threat is not likely to occur; however, if tasks are framed in terms of active stereotypes, participants are likely to perform worse on the task. For example, a study on chess players revealed that female players performed more poorly than expected when they were told they would be playing against a male opponent. In contrast, women who were told that their opponent was female performed as would be predicted by past ratings of performance. Female participants who were made aware of the stereotype of females performing worse at chess than males performed worse in their chess games.
Researchers Vishal Gupta, Daniel Turban, and Nachiket Bhawe extended stereotype threat research to
Other studies have demonstrated how stereotype threat can negatively affect the performance of European Americans in athletic situations as well as the performance of men who are being tested on their social sensitivity. Although the framing of a task can produce stereotype threat in most individuals, certain individuals appear to be more likely to experience stereotype threat than others. Individuals who highly identify with a particular group appear to be more vulnerable to experiencing stereotype threat than individuals who do not identify strongly with the stereotyped group.
The mere presence of other people can evoke stereotype threat. In one experiment, women who took a mathematics exam along with two other women got 70% of the answers right, whereas women who took the same exam in the presence of two men got an average score of 55%.
The goal of a study conducted by Desert, Preaux, and Jund in 2009 was to see if children from lower
There have been studies on the effects of stereotype threat based on age. A study was done on 99 senior citizens ranging in age from 60–75 years. These seniors were given multiple tests on certain factors and categories such as memory and physical abilities, and were also asked to evaluate how physically fit they believe themselves to be. Additionally, they were asked to read articles that contained both positive and negative outlooks about seniors, and they watched someone reading the same articles. The goal of this study was to see if priming the participants before the tests would affect performance. The results showed that the control group performed better than those that were primed with either negative or positive words prior to the tests. The control group seemed to feel more confident in their abilities than the other two groups.
Many psychological experiments carried out on Stereotype Threat focus on the physiological effects of negative stereotype threat on performance, looking at both high and low status groups. Scheepers and Ellemers tested the following hypothesis: when assessing a performance situation on the basis of current beliefs the low status group members would show a physiological threat response, and high-status members would also show a physiological threat response when examining a possible alteration of the status quo(Scheepers & Ellemers, 2005). The results of this experiment were in line with expectations. As predicted, participants in the low status condition showed higher blood pressure immediately after the status feedback, while participants in the high-status condition showed a spike in blood pressure while anticipating the second round of the task.
In 2012, Scheepers et al. hypothesized that when high social power is stimulated 'an efficient cardiovascular pattern (challenge)' is produced, whereas, 'an inefficient cardiovascular pattern' or threat is caused by the activation of low social power (Scheepers, de Wit, Ellemers & Sassenberg, 2012). Two experiments were carried out in order to test this hypothesis. The first experiment looked at power priming and the second experiment related to role play. Both results from these two experiments provided evidence in support for the hypothesis.