Introduction (Via Situationist)
The “stereotype threat” is the phenomenon in which reminding people of negative stereotypes associated with their group identity can encourage the fulfillment of those stereotypes.
Findings (via Situationist)
“When reminded of their group membership, for example, white people struggle athletically, black people struggle academically, women struggle mathematically and men struggle linguistically,” Alter explained in an e-mail. Alter wanted to find out if the way that people are reminded of their group membership determines the magnitude of this effect.
Alter concluded from the experiment that the presentation of a test as either a “threat” or a “challenge” determines whether negative stereotypes are fulfilled.
“People cope much better with challenges than with threats, so we expected the effects of a stereotype threat to be diminished or eliminated when we framed the threat as a challenge,” Alter explained.
Psychology professor Susan Fiske said that Alter’s research adds nuance to the current understanding of stereotype threats.
“What is new here is Alter’s finding ways to overcome stereotype threat by framing the problem as a challenge instead of a threat,” Fiske said in an e-mail.