An experiment tested three competing hypotheses for how blatant and subtle stereotype threat cues influence the performance of female sports participants on a golf-putting task. A "predominant" model predicts that blatant threat cues have a more negative effect on performance than subtle threat cues, whereas an "additive" model predicts that both cues combine to have a greater negative effect than either threat cue alone. However, a "dual process" model predicts that each threat cue has an independent negative influence through separate mechanisms. To test these predictions, we varied the presence of blatant (e.g., the task frame) and subtle cues (e.g., the gender of the experimenter) for negative stereotypes about female athletes, and then measured both the number of strokes required to finish the course and accuracy on the last putt of each hole. The results supported the dual process model prediction: females required more strokes to finish the golf task when it was framed as measuring gender differences compared to racial differences in athletic ability, and females performed less accurately on the last putt of each hole in the presence of a male versus a female experimenter. The discussion focuses on how the presence of multiple stereotype threat cues can induce independent mechanisms that may have separate but simultaneously deleterious effects on performance.
- Dual process
- Stereotype threat
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Psychology
- Sociology and Political Science