Lessons Learned from a Clockwork Orange: How Retraining Implicit Attitudes and Stereotypes Affects Motivation and Performance under Stereotype Threat
AuthorForbes, Chad Edward
Committee ChairSchmader, Toni
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractWhile evidence suggests stereotype threat effects invade conscious levels of processing, less is known about the role that implicit processes play in stereotype threat. Results from four studies indicate that implicit attitudes and stereotypes play a unique role in motivation and performance in stereotype threatening contexts. Women trained to have positive implicit math attitudes exhibited increased math motivation in general (Study 1). This effect was magnified among stereotype threatened women when negative stereotypes had either been primed subtly (Study 2) or implicitly reinforced (Study 3). Implicit attitudes had no effect on working memory capacity or performance however. Conversely, after retraining women to associate their gender with being good at math, they exhibited increased working memory capacity (Studies 3 and 4) and increased math performance (Study 4) in stereotype threatening situations. The enhanced performance that resulted from the positive stereotype reinforcement was mediated by the increased working memory capacity. Thus while implicit attitudes appear important for motivating stigmatized individuals to engage with stigmatized domains, stereotypes play a key role in undermining cognitive capacity that is critical for success in the domain.