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Psychol Rev. 2008 Apr;115(2):336-56. doi: 10.1037/0033-295X.115.2.336.

An integrated process model of stereotype threat effects on performance.

Author information

  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721, USA. schmader@u.arizona.edu

Abstract

Research showing that activation of negative stereotypes can impair the performance of stigmatized individuals on a wide variety of tasks has proliferated. However, a complete understanding of the processes underlying these stereotype threat effects on behavior is still lacking. The authors examine stereotype threat in the context of research on stress arousal, vigilance, working memory, and self-regulation to develop a process model of how negative stereotypes impair performance on cognitive and social tasks that require controlled processing, as well as sensorimotor tasks that require automatic processing. The authors argue that stereotype threat disrupts performance via 3 distinct, yet interrelated, mechanisms: (a) a physiological stress response that directly impairs prefrontal processing, (b) a tendency to actively monitor performance, and (c) efforts to suppress negative thoughts and emotions in the service of self-regulation. These mechanisms combine to consume executive resources needed to perform well on cognitive and social tasks. The active monitoring mechanism disrupts performance on sensorimotor tasks directly. Empirical evidence for these assertions is reviewed, and implications for interventions designed to alleviate stereotype threat are discussed.

PMID:
18426293
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2570773
Free PMC Article

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