Stereotype threat

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Stereotype threat is when an individual is at risk of confirming a negative stereotype about his or her own group. Therefore, an individual may not perform according to his or her innate ability, rather this ability is impacted by generally held beliefs regarding this individual's grouping, whether it is by sex, age, gender, race, etc. Click Here to learn more.


Examples of Stereotype Threat

Steele & Aronson, 1995

Aronson, Fried, & Good, 2002

Ambady, Paik, Steele, Owen-Smith, & Mitchell, 2004

How to Prevent Stereotype Threat

Experiments have shown that subtly removing or preventing stereotype threats can completely or largely eliminate performance gaps between stereotyped groups and non-stereotyped groups. This can be achieved by doing the following:

- Make it clear in the way you give critical feedback that you use high standards and let the person know that you expect him or her to be able to eventually succeed.

- Improve the number of people from the social category in the setting so that a critical mass is reached.

- Make it clear that you value diversity.

- Foster inter-group conversations and frame these as a learning experience.

- Allow the stereotyped individuals to use self-affirmations.

- Help the stereotyped individuals to develop a narrative about the setting that explains their frustrations while projecting positive engagement and success in the setting.


Reviews of "Whistling Vivaldi: And Other Clues to How Stereotypes Affect Us (Issues of Our Time)." Click here to view them.

"Stereotype Threat, Underperformance and Diversity | Athene Donald's Blog." Occam's Typewriter | The Sharpest Blogging Network in the Box. Web. 30 June 2011. <>.

"Linking Stereotype Threat and Anxiety" Osborne, Jason W., Educational Psychology, v27 n1 p135-154 Feb 2007. Click here to access it.