Date of Award
Master of Arts in Psychology
When females are in a situation which is high in stereotype threat, they underperform on math tasks in comparison to males. Stereotype threat intervention research has found several methods for improving performance, such as allowing the female participants to attribute potential failure to an external source. This study aimed to replicate the results of a teaching intervention study which consisted of informing participants about stereotype threat, and asking that they attribute any stereotype threat-related anxiety to stereotype threat, and to deter it from interfering with their performance on a math task. Based on the research by Inzlicht and Ben-Zeev (2000), which found that females underperformed in comparison to men when completing a math test in a male majority group, the study examined the effectiveness of the teaching intervention when it was administered to female only and male majority groups. The study hypothesized that female participants in the female only group would perform better on a math test than females in the female minority group. The study additionally examined the attributions made for performance on the math test using the Causal Dimension Scale II. The results demonstrated that no significant differences were found between the math test performances of the participants who were taught about stereotype threat and those who were not. In addition, no significant differences were noted between the math test performances of the participants in the female only and the male majority group. Finally, the study did not find any significant differences between groups on the Causal Dimension Scale II, a scale which measures attributions made for success or failure on a task. Although this study did not find any significant differences between groups, these results do not disprove the theory of stereotype threat. There are several factors that affected the results of this study, such as the fact that the math test used in the study was probably too difficult for the participants. Some participants did not understand how to complete the Causal Dimension Scale II. Therefore, the results of this study should be interpreted with consideration-of these issues. Further limitations of this study as well as future research directions are explored.
Frost, Megan, "Stereotype Threat: An Intervention with a Focus on Attribution Theory and Group Composition" (2007). Open Access Master's Theses. Paper 1586.