Author

Angela Blay

Date Approved

2015

Date Posted

4-30-2015

Degree Type

Open Access Senior Honors Thesis

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Rusty McIntyre

Second Advisor

Natalie Dove

Abstract

There has been much interest in understanding and reducing stereotype threat. Stereotype threat affects multiple groups and influences those negatively stereotyped groups to avoid consistent domains. Role models have been found to be effective at alleviating threats from such stereotypes, but little is known if exemplars work, and how individuals view themselves as individuals or as group members as focal targets of such threats. This study manipulated women participants into either a self-focused or group focused mindset. Following the manipulation, women were given a character essay to read that either had a woman exemplar as an intervention or a group of women role models. Participants then took a diagnostic mathematics exam and reported in a closing questionnaire their levels of threat, extra-test thinking, and inspiration. The study reported no significant results for math performance, but did show that the self-focused individuals who read of role models were the least threatened and least affected by extra-test thinking. The research shows how role models may be used to inspire and alleviate stereotype threat, while future research is needed to understand the effects of the mind set focus of self versus group thinking.

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