Low Numbers: Stereotype Threat and the Performance of Women and Minorities Joshua Aronson New York University The Minority-White Gap Prison: Blacks and Latinos vastly overrepresented College Blacks 1/2 as likely to go; 2x as likely to drop out High School: 50% drop out rate; 2-4 year reading gap K-12 Lower standardized test scores and grades Birth-Preschool Nearly equal ability test scores Under-Performance of Women In Math & Science While outperforming men in all other areas of academia, women earn less than 25% of the degrees in Computer Science, Physics, and Engineering College: women perform worse on standardized tests of mathematics but do well in their courses; far fewer choose math/ hard science majors Middle School: Girls earn equally high grades but begin to lose confidence in math abilities; test score gap on standadized tests emerges K-12: Girls Perform at or above the same level as boys on tests and in school; show less intrinsic interest in spatial tasks Common Explanations for Group Differences 1. Lower innate intelligence --The Bell Curve --Biological differences in math ability 2. Poverty (lower skills and preparation) 3. Subculture that discourages academic success “Acting White” “Acting Male” Larger Culture of Anti-intellectualism Larger Culture of Anti- Intellectualism Larger Culture of Anti- Intellectualism Recent polls indicate that 1 in 5 Americans: • Believes that the Sun revolves around Earth • Can’t locate the U.S. on a World Map • Does NOT believe the Government is hiding evidence of space Aliens! Larger Culture of Anti- Intellectualism • Recent polls indicate that a 5th of Americans can’t locate the U.S. on a World Map. • Why do you think this is? All of the traditional explanations fall short of explaining the gap, even when combined; something else must be involved… Part One: Intelligence is Fragile Operational Definition: Intelligence = IQ Scores, Performance in School, Verbal Fluency, etc. “Human intelligence is among the most fragile things in nature. It doesn’t take much to distract it, suppress it, or even annihilate it.” --Neil Postman The Fragility of Intelligence Some social factors: • Interpersonal Intimidation (being smarter, funnier, etc with some people) • Threatened Belongingness (Baumeister, 2002) • Stereotype Threat/ Identity threat (Steele & Aronson, 1995) Identity Threat Apprehension arising from the awareness of a negative stereotype or personal reputation in a situation where the stereotype or identity is relevant, and thus confirmable – everyone experiences this in some form Examples of Identity Threat • Jewish person in the Bible Belt • African American Taking an IQ test • Woman called upon in math class Stereotype Threat : No Explicit Bigotry Required Stereotype Threat Anecdotal Evidence “When I talk in class, I feel as though I‟m totally on stage, like everyone‟s thinking, „oh what‟s the Black girl going to say?‟ But I don‟t speak up in class much anymore, so I guess it‟s not a big deal.” —Stanford Undergraduate Stereotype Threat Anecdotal Evidence “Group work was a nightmare. I could tell that no one thought my ideas were any good because I‟m Latina.” —NYU Undergraduate Stereotype Threat Anecdotal Evidence “Everyone expects me to be good at math because I‟m Asian, so I feel extra stupid because I‟m not so good at math.” —NYU Undergrad “Conditional Stupidity” Conditional Stupidity: The Two Faces of Bush d Quic kT ime™ an a c T IF F (Un ompres sed) decompre s os r are ne d e ede to s e this pic ture. Smart Bush 1994 Debate with Anne Richards “…This Bush was eloquent. He spoke quickly and easily. He rattled off complicated sentences and brought them to the right grammatical conclusions. He mishandled a word or two ("million" when he clearly meant "billion"; "stole" when he meant "sold"), but fewer than most people would in an hour's debate. More striking, he did not pause before forcing out big words, as he so often does now, or invent mangled new ones. " (James Fallows, 2004). Dumb Bush 2004 “They misunderestimated me” --G.W. Bush, Nov 6, 2000 d Quic kT ime™ an a c T IF F ( U n ompr s es sed) decompr e s or e ar ne d e ede to s e this pic tur e. Estimate Bush‟s SAT Score Average estimate = 1030 Bush‟s Actual Score = 1330 Laboratory Experiment on Stereotype Threat Steele & Aronson (1995). Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. • Method: Reducing Evaluative Scrutiny • Measure: Blacks’ and Whites’ Verbal GRE Performance Verbal Test Performance 15 13 whites 11 # of items solved 9 7 5 blacks 3 1 "Measuring Your Ability" "Not Measuring Your Ability" Verbal Test Performance 15 13 whites 11 whites # of items solved 9 blacks 7 5 blacks 3 1 "Measuring Your Ability" "Not Measuring Your Ability" Verbal Test Performance Corrected for SAT 10 9 whites blacks whites 8 # of items solved 7 6 5 blacks 4 3 2 1 STEREOTYPE THREAT NO STEREOTYPE THREAT Laboratory Experiment on Stereotype Threat Steele & Aronson (1995) Method: Inducing the Relevance of Race Measure: Blacks’ and Whites’ Verbal GRE Performance Verbal Test Performance 10 9 blacks whites whites 8 # of items solved 7 6 5 blacks 4 3 2 1 Asked to Indicate Race Not Asked to Indicate Race Math Test Performance Of College Men and Women (Spencer, Steele & Quinn, 1999) men 21 # of items solved 16 11 women 6 1 Control "No Gender Differences" Math Test Performance Of College Men and Women (Spencer, Steele & Quinn, 1999) men 21 men women # of items solved 16 11 women 6 1 Control "No Gender Differences" Additional Studies Finding Performance Effects • Latinos taking verbal tests • Elderly taking short-term memory tests • Low SES Students taking verbal tests • Blacks and Miniature Golf • Women taking tests of Political Knowledge, Driving, Chess • White males taking tests of social sensitivity • White Males Taking Math Tests When White Men Can’t Do Math Aronson, et al., (1999). Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. 12 11 10 9 Items Solved 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 Test of Your Math Ability Test of Your Math Ability Relative to Asians When White Men Can’t Do Math Aronson, et al., (1999). Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. 12 11 10 d = .93 9 Items Solved 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 Test of Your Math Ability Test of Your Math Ability Relative to Asians Educational Testing Service Field Study: Asking About Gender before or After Before Taking AP ETS Field Study: Asking Gender Before Taking AP Calculus Test Hurts Girls 17 16 AP Formula Score 15 Female 14 Male 13 12 11 Inquiry Before Inquiry After (Stricker, 2002). Journal of Applied Social Psychology. Educational Testing Service Study: Asking Gender Before AP Calculus Test Hurts Girls, Helps Boys 17 16 AP Formula Score 15 Female 14 Male 13 12 11 Inquiry Before Inquiry After Danaher and Crandall (2008) Reanalysis of ETS Study “Women benefited substantially on the calculus test when demographics were asked after testing rather than before. This simple, small, and inexpensive change could increase U.S. women receiving AP Calculus AB credit by more than 4,300 every year.” Field Experiment: Women in the Science Pipeline Highest Level Calculus Students Field Study: Women in the Science Pipeline Highest Level College Calculus Students 5 4.5 Calculus items solved 4 3.5 3 Female 2.5 Male 2 1.5 1 0.5 0 CONTROL "NO GENDER DIFFERENCES" Good, Aronson, & Harder (in press) Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology Field Study: Women in the Science Pipeline Advanced Level Women Outperform Advanced Men in Calculus When Threat Reduced 5 4.5 4 3.5 Ca lculus items so lved 3 Fe mal e 2.5 Mal e 2 1.5 1 0.5 0 CONTROL "NO GENDER DIFFERENCES" Good, Aronson, & Harder (2008) Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology General Conclusions from 300 Studies • One need not believe the stereotype is true to feel the pressure to disprove it, but believing appears to increase ST • ST can affect even those students with lots of ability and lots of confidence in their abilities, from any group, in any setting • Stereotype threat can arise as a function of grouping alone, integrated groups trigger it. • Under performance mediated by stress and anxiety, reduced working memory capacity, and reduced self-regulation capacity. • Stereotype threat influences GPA as well as immediate performance; Massey & Fischer found 9% of GPA gap Stereotype Vulnerability: Risk Factors for Underperformance – Acceptance of the stereotype as maybe true – Expectations of prejudice – Belief that tests are biased against minorities; mistrust – High levels of academic engagement--Caring Chronic Stereotype Vulnerability Can lead to Lower Ability From Vulnerability to Inability "No circle is more vicious than the one having to do with intelligence. Children who may be only a little behind their peers to begin with tend to avoid those things that could have made them a little smarter. As a result they fall further and further behind. Meanwhile the kids who started out a little ahead are doing push-ups with their brains.” Judith Rich Harris Chronic Stereotype Vulnerability Can lead to Lower Ability •Avoidance of Challenge/practice •Academic Self-concept/Ambiguity •Disidentification/Disengagement •Lower Ability Challenge Avoidance 7 Stereotype Threat No Stereotype Threat 6 Desired Problem Difficulty 5 4 3 2 1 Latino White Stereotype Vulnerability and Academic Self- Concept Instability Aronson & Inzlicht (2004). Psychological Science. Students who are vulnerable to stereotype threat often fluctuate greatly in their Academic self-confidence. Academic efficacy over time for typical high or low SV college student Aronson & Inzlicht (2004). Psychological Science. 6 Hi SV Low SV 4 Academic Efficacy 2 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 -2 -4 -6 Time Disidentification Among College Students Stanford University Survey: “Considering all the things that matter to you, how much do you care about academics?” 7 Whites 6 ratings adjusted by SAT 5 4 Blacks 3 2 1 Aronson, Fried & Good (2002). Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. Part Two: Reducing Threat Mindset Matters Biological Differences in Spatial Ability • Largest sex differences: Spatial Ability • May account for most of the math test score gap • Testosterone? Vandenberg Mental Rotation Task A meta-analysis containing 286 data sets and 100,000 subjects found a highly significant male advantage for mental rotation; this pattern remains stable across age and has not decreased in recent years. Identity Salience Influences Women’s 25 Mental Rotation Performance WOMEN MEN 20 VMR SCORE 15 10 5 GENDER ELITE COLLEGE CONTROL STUDENT McGlone & Aronson (2006). Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology. Identity Salience Influences Women’s Mental Rotation Performance 25 WOMEN MEN 20 VMR SCORE 15 10 5 GENDER ELITE COLLEGE CONTROL STUDENT McGlone & Aronson (2006). Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology. Identity Salience Influences Mental Rotation Performance 25 WOMEN MEN 20 VMR SCORE 15 10 5 GENDER ELITE COLLEGE CONTROL STUDENT Reducing Stereotype Threat: The role of conceptions of intelligence “The mind is much more like a muscle than we’ve ever realized… it needs to get cognitive exercise. It’s not some piece of clay on which you put an indelible mark.” James Flynn, intelligence expert, 2007 Experiment Aronson (in preparation) Question: What if you were led to believe ability is malleable? Would it reduce effects of stereotype threat? Method: Framing test as a measure of a fixed or a malleable ability Measure: Blacks’ and Whites’ Test Performance Conceptions of Ability and Test Performance 11 10 9 8 # of items solved 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 Non-improvable Like SAT Verbal Improvable Skill Ability Conceptions of Ability and Test Performance 11 10 9 8 # of items solved 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 Non-improvable Like SAT Verbal Improvable Skill Ability Conceptions of Ability and Test Performance 11 10 9 African Americans Whites # of items solved 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 "Non- "Like SAT "Improvable improvable Verbal" Skill" Ability" (control) Reducing the effects of Stereotype Threat In the real world: Shaping implicit theories Question: Can getting people to believe in expandable intelligence reduce effects of stereotype threat on GPA? • Method: Attitude change • Measure: End of year GPA Year End Follow-Up: GPA Aronson, Fried & Good (2002). Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. Reducing Stereotype Threat in Middle School: A field Intervention Question: Can psychological intervention raise test scores of minority students? • Method: mentoring study; attitude change • Conditions: – Malleability of intelligence – Role Models: senior students who stress the normality of early difficulty – Control (drug abuse message) • Measure: Texas Assessment of Academic Skills (TAAS) 7th Grade Reading TAAS--Latinos Good, Aronson & Inzlicht (2003) Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology. 100 READING TAAS SCORE 90 80 Malleability Role Model Control Intervention 7th Grade Girls’ Math TAAS 100 GIRLS BOYS Math TAAS SCORE 90 80 70 Malleability Role Model Control Intervention Good, Aronson & Inzlicht (2003) Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology. Reducing Stereotype Threat: The role of awareness Question: Can understanding Stereotype threat reduce its effects? Method: Forewarning about ST or Test Anxiety Measure: Blacks’ Test Performance a week later African American’s GRE Performance 16 Stereotype threat No stereotype threat SCORE 8 Forewarning-ST Forewarning-Test Control Anxiety Reducing Effects of Stereotype Threat: Strategies • De-emphasize ability; emphasize effort, persistence • Stress the malleability of intelligence • Exposure to Role Models • Awareness of the external difficulties: Normlizing struggle • Groupwork that employs interdependence Conclusion Human intelligence, motivation, and academic self- concept is more fragile and malleable than traditionally thought. People’s performance and motivation can rise and fall depending on the situations and relationships they are in, and the mindsets they adopt. Thank You! Joshua.firstname.lastname@example.org "By nature emplanted, for nurture to enlarge" Richard Mulcaster, 1581 First Headmaster of Merchant Taylors' School in London Message of this Research • Educators have a good deal of power to shape the threat level of the environment; they can stress the fact that serious intellectual work can be difficult but that intellectual growth occurs with engagement and effort; that people gain competence. This is often not apparent to students. • Further studies show that when people perceive an environment where people believe this, an otherwise threatening environment becomes less so, students report more belonging, and this mediates higher grades and engagement.
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