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Knowing Is Half the Battle: Teaching Stereotype Threat as a Means of Improving Women's Math Performance

Michael Johns, Toni Schmader and Andy Martens
Psychological Science
Vol. 16, No. 3 (Mar., 2005), pp. 175-179
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40064197
Page Count: 5
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Knowing Is Half the Battle: Teaching Stereotype Threat as a Means of Improving Women's Math Performance
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Abstract

We tested whether informing women about stereotype threat is a useful intervention to improve their performance in a threatening testing situation. Men and women completed difficult math problems described either as a problem-solving task or as a math test. In a third (teaching-intervention) condition, the test was also described as a math test, but participants were additionally informed that stereotype threat could interfere with women's math performance. Results showed that women performed worse than men when the problems were described as a math test (and stereotype threat was not discussed), but did not differ from men in the problemsolving condition or in the condition in which they learned about stereotype threat. For women, attributing anxiety to gender stereotypes was associated with lower performance in the math-test condition but improved performance in the teaching-intervention condition. The results suggest that teaching about stereotype threat might offer a practical means of reducing its detrimental effects.

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