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New Study: ‘Stereotype Threat’ Probably a Crock–Girls Just Bad at Math

October 22, 2013

Here it is, from five female researchers, mind youl

Stereotype threat has been proposed as 1 potential explanation for the gender difference in standardized mathematics test performance among high-performing students. At present, it is not entirely clear howsusceptibility to stereotype threat develops, as empirical evidence for stereotype threat effects across theschool years is inconsistent. In a series of 3 studies, with a total sample of 931 students, we investigatedstereotype threat effects during childhood and adolescence. Three activation methods were used, rangingfrom implicit to explicit. Across studies, we found no evidence that the mathematics performance ofschool-age girls was impacted by stereotype threat. In 2 of the studies, there were gender differences onthe mathematics assessment regardless of whether stereotype threat was activated. Potential reasons for these findings are discussed, including the possibility that stereotype threat effects only occur in very specific circumstances or that they are in fact occurring all the time. We also address the possibility thatthe literature regarding stereotype threat in children is subject to publication bias.

And:

Although we feel that more nuanced research needs to be done to truly understand whether stereotype threat impacts girls’ mathematics performance, we also believe that too much focus on this one explanation may deter researchers from investigating other key factors that may be involved in gender differences in mathematics performance. For example, there are a number of factors (e.g., mathematics anxiety, mathematics interest, spatial skills; see Ceci & Williams, 2010) that have been shown to be consistently related to mathematics performance and mathematics-and science-related career choices and may warrant more research attention than does stereotype threat.

H/T: Steve Sailer

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