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stereotype threat consequences vulnerable situations mechanisms reduce criticisms unresolved issues
McIntyre, Lord, Gresky, Ten Eyck, Frye, & Bond Jr., 2005

This
study examined the relation between exposure to positive role models and reduction of performance decrements under stereotype threat. Men and women college undergraduates were asked to participate in two studies, one focusing on "developing stimulus materials for future experiments" and one involving finding solutions to math problems. In introducing the tasks, the experimenter always mentioned that "women perform worse than men on math tests." The first task actually allowed some students to read essays describing women who were successful in various fields (a woman architect, lawyer, doctor, or inventor), and students read 0, 1, 2, 3, or 4 essays about successful women. Women performed worse then men when they read no essays about successful women, but there was no significant difference in performance if women read even just one essay about a successful woman. Women's performance did improve as the number of read essays increased, but to a lesser degree with each unit increase. Men's performance was not influenced by the numbers of essays read. This study shows that exposure to positive role models can attenuate stereotype threat and that the amount of exposure is related to the magnitude of this attenuating effect.

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