Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Psychology

Date of Defense

10-27-2009

Graduate Advisor

Mark Tubbs

Committee

Dixie Kohn

Stephanie Merritt

Haim Mano

Abstract

Since 1995, much research has focused on the negative effects that stereotype threat (ST) may have on task and test performance (e.g., Nguyen & Ryan, 2008). To date, however, no research has examined the underlying meaning of this construct in a manner precise enough to determine if it is indeed a unique and meaningful concept and any potential boundaries. Therefore, the main goal of the current research was to obtain a better understanding of what distinctions, if any, exist between ST and similar constructs. Using a factorial design and examining correlations among variables, measures of ST were compared to measures of three similar or related constructs: Stereotype Priming, Test Anxiety, and Test Motivation. In an attempt to clarify the meaning of both (1) these commonly used self-report measures, and (2) common experimental manipulations of those variables, a 3 (Blatant Stereotype Threat Cue vs. Implicit Stereotype Threat Cue vs. Stereotype Prime) x 2 (Well-Known Stereotype vs. Novel Stereotype) design was utilized. Significant differences between targets and non-targets of the ST were found for two of the dependent variables. A significant main effect for novelty of the stereotype and several significant interactions between novelty and cue type were found. More importantly, however, analyses of the qualitative data provided a better understanding of the ST phenomenon, its boundaries, and how it should be defined in the future. The potentials reasons for this effect and the limitation of the study are discussed.

Included in

Psychology Commons

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