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Stereotype Threat

  • By: Claude Steele, Joshua Aronson & Steve Spencer
  • In: Encyclopedia of Social Psychology
  • Edited by: Roy F. Baumeister & Kathleen D. Vohs
  • Subject:Social Psychology (general)
Definition

Stereotype threat arises from the recognition that one could be judged or treated in terms of a negative stereotype about one's group. This sense of threat usually happens when one is doing something to which such a stereotype applies. Then one knows that one is subject to be judged or treated in terms of that stereotypes—as when, for example, an older person is trying to remember where he or she placed the house keys. The negative stereotype alleging poorer memory among older people applies. As the person searches, he or she is aware of confirming this stereotype or being seen as confirming it. If the person is invested in having a good memory, the prospect of being judged or treated this way could be upsetting, ...

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