Project #87012 - women studies

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Stereotype Threat Annotated Bibliography

 

 

In this analysis, Steinke et. al investigates gender stereotypes in the media that may impact children’s views of women in science. The Draw-A-Scientist Test was used to determine how useful media literacy education is on middle school children’s understanding of scientists. The participants were placed in a group of one of three conditions: discussion, discussion with video, and control. The authors explain how although many children do not actually meet scientists, they are made aware of them from a vast majority of media sources. Further that these images and other media sources are a large part of how children create their opinions on the physical and emotional characteristics, attributes, and habits of scientists. The authors’ state that the purpose of the study was to evaluate the usefulness of media literacy education geared towards critical thinking about images of women in changing middle school children’s views of women scientists and to assess the role of images in the media as a basis of gender stereotyping scientists. Several hypotheses and research questions were posed regarding genders role in the study. The first hypothesis predicted girls would be more likely than boys to draw female scientists. The data was consistent with this hypothesis. The authors concluded that the media literacy education did not affect the children’s gender stereotyping of scientists. Though these findings were contrary to expected and even consistent with another study, the authors noted several possible factors that may have played a role in the results. Finally, the authors suggest further research for girls to see a future for themselves in a science related field.

In this study, Bergeron, Block, and Echtenkamp examined how stereotype threat influences women’s performance in the work force specifically in a managerial role, and investigated how one’s gender plays a key role in stereotype threat. The authors focused on studying and examining the impact of the stereotype that women are not as capable as men at holding manager and executive type positions. Both male and female participants played “in-basket task” in roles that are stereotypically known for being male or female positions. It was expected that women would not perform as well in the stereotypical male conditions, but in the stereotypical female conditions this was not expected. The results of the experiment matched what was hypothesized. The authors then explain how the results were weakened by the male gender role identification, which establishes a boundary for the stereotype threat effect (p.133). Through their research, Bergeron, Block, and Echtenkamp sought to confirm that women were exposed to greater stereotype threat when placed in manager or executive positions in the work place. Their research verified this effect. However, they also found that even in the stereotypical female condition, the participant was not confident about their level of competence to perform the position. Meaning that jobs in the high managerial levels are usually male dominated, which is likely the reason many women feel threatened in both stereotypical male and stereotypical female conditions (p. 151). The authors also found that both men and women do not perform as well when in stereotypical male positions compared to those that are stereotypical female positions. The authors then noted the few limitations they found notable in their study. One, that the male sample may not be a good representation of the male population in general. Second, that stereotype threat is only useful in explaining performance differences in those with the same opportunities. And third, a manipulation of stereotype threat was left out of the study. Finally the authors discuss future research on the topic, suggesting that it should involve the impacts of stereotype threat in a stereotypical male field rather than how they looked predominately at a stereotypically female field.

 

       The number of women in engineering and technology fields has been growing but it is a fact that men continue to outnumber women especially in the upper levels of these profession. It is true that women have made tremendous progress in education for the last 50 years. In scientific areas however, women’s educational gains and progress has been less dramatic and slower than in other fields like in law, medicine, business or history. As from elementary to high school, the number of girls and boys taking math and science courses is roughly the same. However, fewer women than men pursue these majors once they are in college. Women’s representation in engineering and science disciplines continues to further decline at graduate level and at the workplace. The issue here is that stereotype that boys are better than girls in engineering and science fields affect girls today both in their performance on these fields and on the job market. Researchers further believe that stereotypes can lower a girl’s aspirations for technology and engineering careers over time (Hill, Corbett & Rose, 2010).

       Clearly, there is a gender gap in the science field. It is not just that there are fewer women into these fields but also that women are more likely to quit than men in the engineering and science related fields. According to Vedantam, female scientists worry much when talking to their male colleagues as they spend much more time monitoring on what they are saying and wondering whether they are making sense or not. Shapiro and Williams (2011) call this the stereotype threat. They define the stereotype threat as a concern that one’s performance and actions will be seen through the lens of a negative stereotype.  The concern disrupts and undermines the performance in a negatively stereotyped domain. Research has confirmed that the stereotype plays a role in eliciting stereotype threats. This is true to gender where girls demonstrate the influence of stereotype salience on engineering and science related fields (Shapiro and Williams, 2011).

        Scientists however claim otherwise; they do not believe the stereotype about women and engineering or science and should therefore not affect them. Psychologists nevertheless suggest that people get affected by stereotype threat in spite of whether they believe in the stereotype. The problem is actually not with the women but with the stereotype; gender disparity in engineering and technology fields may be in part as a result of a vicious cycle. When the women look at the tech companies and science related departments, they see fewer women and this activates the stereotype that after all women is not good at science and math. The stereotype thus makes it harder for women to enter these fields, stay and thrive. A solution for the stereotype threat is actually simple; to boost the number of women in the engineering and technology fields, it is important to boost the number of women in those fields (Vedantam, 2012).

        It is important to note that negative stereotypes about girls’ abilities in engineering and science continue to persist in spite of the girls’ and women’s gains both in participation and performance in these areas. The stereotypes that boys are better in math and science than girls start early and by the time the girls are of age, they are very much aware of the stereotype. The stereotype threat affects the girls’ performances eventually tearing them apart through psychological and physiological responses resulting to impaired performance. It is for such reasons that girls should be encouraged to have a more flexible mindset about intelligence, expose the girls to successful female models in engineering and in technology fields, and teach the students about the stereotype threat and how it can affect them (Hill, Corbett & Rose, 2010).

Stereotype Threat’s Impact on Hispanic Students

All students are susceptible to stereotype threat, especially those who fall within a certain minority subculture. Race has become one of the most defining factors in measuring an individual’s capabilities within our society. The majority of research surrounding stereotype threat and race has been done amongst African-American and Caucasian individuals. Bryan Rodriguez conducted this study in order to examine how Hispanic students respond to stereotypes on standardized tests. He also aims to identify whether or not racial stereotypes have an impact of their academic performance as a whole.  Rodriguez notes that such disparities may be attributed to the quality of education, socioeconomic status, and available opportunities.

                Rodriguez’s sample of 62 Hispanic students was obtained from a summer bridge program. This program was for first-generation students on their way to college. All of these students have graduated high school in an urban school district. Of all of the participants, 58% were female and 42% were male. The students were divided into two classifications: the experimental group and the control group. Participants were given forty minutes to complete forty questions from the verbal section of the SAT exam. Those in the experimental group were asked to read an article, before completing the exam, from Education Week that discussed the achievement gap in education. This was meant to create a high-threat situation, by making students aware of the racial stereotypes against them regarding performance. Instructors then notified the students that their academic ability was being measured based upon this test. In contrast to the experimental group, the control group was simply told they were taking a pilot test as a means of developing a test for the following year’s program. Upon completion of the exam, participants were debriefed on the study’s purpose and were given more information on stereotype threat and it’s impact. They were asked to complete an eight-question survey regarding their perceived performance and the amount of pressure they felt to do well.

Bryan Rodriguez found that the high-threat participants (those in the experimental group) performed about 9% lower than those under low-threat conditions (control group). These results were consistent with previous studies on how stereotype threat negatively impacts performance. Although the difference was minor, it is important to note the impact that this type of difference can have in a real world, high-stakes testing environment and subsequent educational and career paths (Rodriguez, p. 199). This may have implications for day-to-day education as well. The presence of stereotypes can lead to poor academic performance overall, in addition to a lack of focus and social engagement. Survey responses showed that students in high-threat conditions felt more pressure to perform well in comparison to other students. Rodriguez (2014) has found that, “Students who view their academic performance or intelligence as a single entity are more vulnerable to lose interest or motivation when they struggle in the presence of stereotype threat.” (p.199) He proposes several solutions to eliminating stereotype threat, such as addressing negative stereotypes in a classroom setting in order to show that this condition is unacceptable, and will stop them from persisting overall.

                It is important to note the lack of existing research on how stereotype threat impacts the performance of Hispanic students. Rodriguez has done an excellent job in addressing this issue among a minority, especially where existing research is scarce. Rodriguez used deceptive strategies by telling students they were taking an exam for academic purposes. By doing so, he was able to obtain unbiased results. Rodriguez has provided us outstanding suggestions in regards to eliminating stereotype threat as a whole. Stereotype threat has alarming effects on all minority groups, though the majority of existing research has focused on disparities between African-Americans and Whites, as well as between men and women. As Bryan Rodriguez states, it is important to conduct more research on the negative effects of stereotype threats among more minorities.

Stereotype Threat’s Impact on Multiracial Individuals

Little research has been done surrounding the impact of stereotype threat on multiracial individuals. Multiracial individuals may not be easily grouped into one specific race, which may have some implications one how society defines these individuals, and how these individuals define themselves. Bonam et al. argue that race is socially constructed and provides no biological predictors of intellectual ability. The authors suggest that, “A heightened awareness of race as a social construction among multiracial individuals arises from the unique experiences multiracial individuals often encounter during their upbringing.” (Bonam et al., 2007, p. 126) Second, they believe emphasizing race as a social construct may lessen the impact of racial stereotypes. Unlike those who fit into a specific racial construct, multiracial individuals are at risk of being stereotyped based upon their different ancestries or being lumped in with the race they depict. The attitudes that people hold towards their own stereotyped identity may affect the strength of the individual’s association with that identity.

Bonam et al. (2007) have identified two hypotheses: “(1) that multiracial individuals are more likely to emphasize the social construction of race and (2) that this emphasis reduces vulnerability to racial stereotypes.” (p.126) In order to test their beliefs, they have conducted four studies in order to examine the impacts of stereotypes and stereotype threat on multiracial individuals. The first study was conducted in order to assess the views that both monoracial and multiracial people hold surrounding race. Participants were asked to respond to a survey, which measured variables on a seven-point scale. These factors included interracial comfort, the importance of diversity, and the overemphasis of race. The researchers found that multiracial individuals view race as less of a social barrier and agree that race does not determine one’s personality or abilities.

In their second study, the researchers asked participants to complete a computer based lexical-decision task. The purpose of this study was to record and assess their reaction times to words that had stereotypical connotations. They found that the multiracial participants are more prone to disregarding racial stereotypes due to their tendency to deemphasize biological arguments of race. Their third study examines how race impacts performance. Using a questionnaire that assessed demographics and their SAT math scores, Bonam et al. found that performance accuracy was affected by the presence or absence of race salience for those who identified as a minority. They also found that race salience impacted multiracial individuals less than monoracial participants. Their final study aimed to find a causal relationship between emphasizing race as a social construct and one’s susceptibility to stereotype threat. Bonam et al. (2007) found “direct evidence that de-emphasizing the biological basis and emphasizing the social construction of race reduces stereotype threat susceptibility.” (p.131)

Through their study, Bonam, Peck, Sanchez, and Shih have shed light on yet another subculture that is subjected to stereotype threat. By increasing awareness of racial stereotypes, particularly in an academic environment, we may find less impact on stereotyped individuals. Racial minorities have always been under the threat of stereotypes. It is important, however, to look at all aspects of minority subcultures, as these authors have done. As previously noted, multiracial individuals may be more subjected to stereotype, simply because they identify with more than one race. It is extremely valuable to examine the impact that these stereotypes have on racial subcultures, beyond monoracial groups. Although they have provided us with an uncharted discovery, it would be important for further research to provide us with more information on the implications for other racial groups.

 

 

 

Effects of Stereotype Threat

Stereotype Threat Prevents Perceptual Learning

In this article, Stereotype Threat refers to a “situation in which a member of a group fears that her or his performance will validate an existing negative performance stereotype, causing a decrease in performance.” The researchers did an experiment that tested whether this proved to be true for women faced with a math task. Two groups of women were formed, one trained under stereotype threat and the other was not, then they were asked to perform a task in which the goal was to find the Chinese characters with the desired targets in a display of such characters. The women who were trained under stereotype threat were told that “women are bad at math” and other comments with similar connotation.

It was found that the women training under stereotype threat had a slower response time than women from the other group, suggesting that women who are not exposed to stereotypes can perform better and faster. Not only that, but the researchers also found that women not trained under stereotype threat had a better ability to differentiate between color saturation on squares even when task-irrelevant Chinese characters were placed on them. Women trained under stereotype threat had not learned such an attention response according to their results.

It can then be asked, did the women trained under stereotype threat really not learn how to perform the task? Or do they just refrain from expressing their skills in fear of messing up and validating the negative stereotype? No matter the answer to this question, it is clear that stereotype threat on women has a negative impact on their perceptual learning and their expression of it under pressure.

This article makes a critical point about the way in which stereotypes impact the groups that they represent. The women in this study may have learned the skills needed to perform the task, but when faced with stereotype threats their performance greatly decreased. This relates to the articles that we read for Unit 5, which discussed the impact that stereotype threat has on women in the STEM fields. Horwath’s article about the cognitive differences between men and women showed that there is not necessarily a gap between the cognitive abilities of each and thus women should be able to perform as well as men. Faulkner’s article then talks about the balance that women have to face as engineers; how they have to be either a woman or an engineer and cannot be both at the same time. Since there is no apparent cognitive gap between the genders, then why do women continue to be held back in their performances and careers? This article answers the question by showing how powerful stereotype threat can be in preventing women from reaching their full potential.

The authors of this work do not seem to be biased in their findings. The research was conducted fairly and the results appear to be accurately recorded. I find it very convincing since out of the five authors, three of them are men. This is important due to the nature and findings of the research, and the fact that stereotype threat on women typically comes from men in the STEM fields.

 

Stereotype Threat Undermines Academic Learning

 

The purpose of this research study was to “test whether stereotype threat can undermine the acquisition of academic knowledge and thus harm performance even in nonthreatening settings.” The researchers studied this phenomenon on black and white students as they learned rare words and were asked to define those words at a later date. Half of the participants were placed in a nonthreatening group in which the definitions were to be recalled in a warm up situation, and the other half was placed in a threatening “test-like” situation. It was found that black students studying in the threatening environment recalled only half as many words correctly as the black students in the nonthreatening environment. No such decrement was shown for the white students.

It is important to mention that the black students in this study had “considerable intellectual potential” and performed better than the white students in the nonthreatening environment. But when faced with the threatening environment with stereotype threat, they became the worst performing group. These results illustrate the massive impact that stereotype threat has on learning and performance, even on high achieving students. It dramatically changes the way students view their own ability and they begin to struggle with tasks that they otherwise would be proficient in.

Furthermore, this suggests that black students experience a form of “double jeopardy” in which their recall performance suffered when they experienced stereotype threat in either the learning or performance environment. This suggests that nonthreatening environments are the best way for any stereotyped student to learn new academic knowledge and skills, which is most effectively done through interventions to reduce stereotype threat – such as value affirmation and social belonging interventions. Another experiment done by the researchers showed that value affirmation “eliminated the learning-threat effect and provided evidence of psychological process.”

This article relates specifically to our focus on racial stereotype threat and the impact that it has on the stereotyped groups, such as the black students researched in this study. The overarching theme of our units on stereotype threat discussed the impact that such stereotypes have on performance and self-worth. The research found here shows very strongly how performance and self-efficacy can be greatly affected by the negative stereotypes and expectations of the groups’ abilities.

After reading this article, I’m left with speculation that this same result could be true for other racial groups and students of various backgrounds. Although the race of the authors is unknown, by the formality of the written results I don’t believe any bias exists in their research. Hence, the results can be applied to educational settings to encourage nonthreatening environments for stereotyped students in order to enhance their learning and performance.

 

Implicit gender-math stereotype and women’s susceptibility to stereotype threat and stereotype lift

The authors of this article examined a number of literatures on how the women’s mathematical performances were influenced in stereotyped surroundings. They found that despite many studies showed the effects of stereotype threat on women’s mathematical performance, little researches showed the effects of stereotype-threat on women’s mathematical self-efficacy, and the effects of stereotype-lift. An experiment was conducted to show how women’s mathematical performance and self-efficacy changes in the stereotype-threat and stereotype-lift surroundings with implicit gender-mathematics stereotypes. The results showed that women who hold implicit gender mathematics stereotype had volatile mathematical performance and self-efficacy in both treat and lift surroundings.

 

Throughout the article the authors of the article successfully introduced the problems of implicit gender stereotype surroundings by exploring and summarizing other people’s researches. Based on their research on the topic, the hypothesis of the experiment and what they expected from the experiment were stated. For example, they expected that if one holds implicit gender –mathematics stereotype her mathematical performance and self-efficacy would be lower than the normal. They not only presented previous researches but also point out a possible problem in the experiment of the previous researches and took the problem in to account in their experiment, “However, they did not take into account the implicit mathematics-gender stereotype” (Franceschini et al., p. 274). The result from their experiment showed how one’s performance or self-efficacy could be affected in stereotyped environments. As they expected from their hypothesis, susceptible results were observed from the performance of women with implicit stereotype. In addition the author suggests the application of their study in order to create a positive effect on women’s confident in the mathematic related fields, “this work provided concrete guidance on how to implement the lift effects or to prevent the threat effects through simple counter-stereotypical information” (Franceschini et al., p. 275). 

 

 

 

 

Implicit stereotypes and women’s math performance

 

 

Throughout literature research on gender difference in mathematical performance, the authors of the article found that the women under a reduced stereotype treat situation performed better in mathematical tests than the women under a regular stereotype treat situation, implicit stereotypes negatively affect women but not men, and gender and math identified women were more sensitive to threat. With these findings an experiment was conducted to see that among what factors such as implicit gender-math stereotype threat, implicit gender identification, and implicit math identification women’s mathematical performance were affected. The result of the experiment only supported that implicit gender-math stereotype affected women’s performance in mathematics. The performance of the women with less implicit gender-math stereotype was much volatile compared to the performance of the women holding a strong gender-math stereotype.

 

The authors of this article went through a number of research papers to develop their hypotheses. After stating their interest in the study, they clearly explained what the hypotheses meant. Additionally, the authors are fully aware of the limitations of the study. There is no guarantee that women’s mathematical performance decreased because of implicit gender stereotype. Also there might be other factors that influenced the result (Kiefer & Sekaquaptewa, p. 831).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References

Steinke, J., Lapinski M. K., Crocker N., Zietsman-Thomas, A., Williams, Y., Evergreen, S. H., Kuchibhotla, S., et al. (2007). Assessing media influences on middle school-aged children’s perceptions of women in science using the draw-a-scientist test (DAST). Science Communication, 29(1), 35-64.

Bergeron, D. M., Block, C. J., & Echtenkamp B. A. (2006). Disabling the able: stereotype threat and women’s work performance. Human Performance 19(2), 133-158.

Hill, C., Corbett, C. & Rose A. (2010). Why so few? Women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Retrieved from http://www.aauw.org/files/2013/02/Why-So-Few-Women-in-Science-Technology-Engineering-and-Mathematics.pdf

Shapiro, J. R. & Williams, A. M. (31 July, 2011). The role of stereotype threats in undermining girls' and women's performance and interest in STEM fields. Sex Roles. DOI 10.1007/s11199-011-0051-0

Vedantam, S. (12  July, 2012). How Stereotypes Can Drive Women To Quit Science. NPR. Retrieved from http://www.npr.org/2012/07/12/156664337/stereotype-threat-why-women-quit-science-jobs

Rodriguez, B. (2014). The Threat of Living Up to Expectations: Analyzing the Performance of Hispanic Students on Standardized Exams. Journal of Hispanic Higher Education, 13(3), 191-205. doi: 10.1177/1538192714531292

Bonam, C., Peck, C., Sanchez, D., & Shih, M. (2007). The social construction of race: Biracial identity and vulnerability to stereotypes. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 13(2), 125-133. doi: 10.1037/1099-9809.13.2.125

Rydell, R., Shiffrin, R., Boucher, K., Van Loo, K., Rydell, M., & Steele, C. (n.d.). Stereotype Threat Prevents Perceptual Learning. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/25708852?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents

Taylor, V. (2011). Stereotype Threat Undermines Academic Learning. Retrieved October 1, 2015, http://psp.sagepub.com.prox.lib.ncsu.edu/content/37/8/1055.full.pdf+html

Franceschini, G., Galli, S., Chiesi, F., & Primi, C. (2014). Implicit gender-math stereotype and women’s susceptibility to stereotype threat and stereotype lift. Learning and Individual Differences, 32, 273-277.

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1041608014000661

Kiefer, A. K., Sekaquaptewa, D. (2007). Implicit stereotypes and women’s math performance: Howe implicit gender-math stereotypes influence women’s susceptibility to stereotype threat. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 43(5), 825-832.

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022103106001399

 

 

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