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stereotype threat consequences vulnerable situations mechanisms reduce criticisms unresolved issues
Frantz, Cuddy, Burnett, Ray, & Hart, 2004

This study examines how White's completion of an implicit measure of racial attitudes might actually present a risk of confirming the stereotype that Whites are racially biased. To test this notion, White undergraduates in Experiment 1 completed an implicit measure of  race-based associations (the race Implicit Association Task (IAT); Greenwald, McGhee, & Schwartz, 1998) after being told nothing about the measure (control), that the measure indicated "racial bias" (high threat) or that responses to the measure reflected knowledge of, but not personal belief in, racial stereotypes (no threat). Results showed that performance was worst (i.e., most confirming of implicit racist associations) in the high threat condition and best in the no threat condition, with performance in the control condition between these two extremes. Even performance in the control condition showed evidence of stereotypic race-based associations, however, indicating that the absence of stereotype threat did not completely eliminated traditional racial associations. Experiment 2 replicated these effects but also showed that they were moderated by individual differences in motivation to control prejudiced responses. Specifically, IAT scores indicating stereotypical associations were higher under stereotype threat to the degree that individuals were concerned about appearing unbiased. Experiment 3 had White students complete the IAT under threat or no threat, but half the students were first allow to affirm their commitment to being nonracist. When allowed to self-affirm, threat had no affect on IAT scores. Without affirmation, however, IAT scores were higher under high threat than no threat. Only those individuals motivated to control prejudice responses but not allowed to affirm commitment to nonracism showed higher IAT scores under high compared with no threat. These data show that Whites who are threatened by the possibility of seeming racist produce elevated IAT scores, that Whites motivated to control prejudiced are ironically particularly vulnerable to this stereotype threat effect, and that opportunities to  affirm one’s commitment to nonracism attenuate this effect.

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