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J Soc Psychol. 2010 Mar-Apr;150(2):132-47. doi: 10.1080/00224540903366552.

The effects of gender stereotypic and counter-stereotypic textbook images on science performance.

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Rutgers University, Department of Psychology, 53 Avenue East, Tillett Hall, Piscataway, NJ 08854, USA.


We investigated the effect of gender stereotypic and counter-stereotypic images on male and female high school students' science comprehension and anxiety. We predicted stereotypic images to induce stereotype threat in females and impair science performance. Counter-stereotypic images were predicted to alleviate threat and enhance female performance. Students read one of three chemistry lessons, each containing the same text, with photograph content varied according to stereotype condition. Participants then completed a comprehension test and anxiety measure. Results indicate that female students had higher comprehension after viewing counter-stereotypic images (female scientists) than after viewing stereotypic images (male scientists). Male students had higher comprehension after viewing stereotypic images than after viewing counter-stereotypic images. Implications for alleviating the gender gap in science achievement are discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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