Combating stereotype threat: The effect of self-affirmation on women's intellectual performance
The present studies were designed to investigate the effects of self-affirmation on the performance of women under stereotype threat. In Study 1, women performed worse on a difficult math test when it was described as diagnostic of math intelligence (stereotype threat condition) than in a non-diagnostic control condition. However, when women under stereotype threat affirmed a valued attribute, they performed at levels comparable to men and to women in the no-threat control condition. In Study 2, men and women worked on a spatial rotation test and were told that women were stereotyped as inferior on such tasks. Approximately half the women and men self-affirmed before beginning the test. Self-affirmation improved the performance of women under threat, but did not affect men’s performance.