Stereotype Threat and Gender

Stereotype threat is a psychological phenomenon that explains the many ways in which stereotypes have the ability to interfere with performance. These performance interference effects or threat effects occur when a member of a negatively stereotyped group (e.g., a woman) is confronted with a performance situation in which she knows that there are negative stereotypes of her group. In the face of the threat, the woman tends to act in a way that confirms the stereotype—most notably through decreased performance. Threat effects demonstrate how the context of performance can create gender differences rather than ability differences per se. Stereotype threat is a problem because it can limit academic performance (e.g., lower preparation for a math test) and lower identification with any domain that is male ...

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