Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Reduce Sterotype Threat

We all know what stereotype threat is. Now there's a site -- Reducing Stereotype Threat, run by social psychologists Steven Stroessner and Catherine Good.

It's devoted to research on many aspects of this subject.; in particular, check out the page on ways to reduce stereotype threat.

A general means for protecting the self from perceived threats and the consequences of failure is to allow people to affirm their self-worth. This can be done by encouraging people to think about their characteristics, skills, values, or roles that they value or view as important. [...] Cohen, Garcia, Apfel, and Master (2006) described two field studies in which seventh grade students at racially-diverse schools were randomly assigned to self-affirm or not to self-affirm as part of a regular classroom exercise. For students who self-affirmed, they were asked to indicate values that were important to them and to write a brief essay indicating why those values were important. For students who did not self-affirm, they indicated their least important values and wrote an essay why those values might be important to others. Although the intervention took only 15 minutes, the effects on academic performance during the semester were dramatic. As reflected in their end-of-semester GPAs, African-American students who had been led to self-affirm performed .3 grade points better during the semester than those who had not.

Thanks to Zuska for the pointer.