Examples of Stereotype Threat

  • Asked to indicate their gender at the beginning of a math test, female college students do more poorly than females who are not asked to indicate their gender.
  • High-achieving white male college students do more poorly on a math test if they are told the test is used to determine why Asian students are superior in mathematics.
  • Told that a test measures natural athletic ability, African-American males outperformed white males.  Told that the test measures sports strategic intelligence, white males outperformed African-American males.
  • Told that a test measures language ability, college students from a lower-class background perform more poorly than upper-class students.
  • Older adults who read a newspaper account of how aging impairs memory did more poorly on a memory test than those who had not read the story.

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