Title

Was There an Effect?: Investigating Stereotype Threat with Fake Stereotypes

Presenter Information

Jessica HodgesFollow

Academic Level at Time of Presentation

Senior

Major

Psychology and Sociology

List all Project Mentors & Advisor(s)

Jana Hackathorn, PhD.

Presentation Format

Oral Presentation

Abstract/Description

Previous research examining stereotype threat has shown that individuals who are reminded of a stereotype pertaining to their in-group are more likely to fulfill that stereotype, ironically as a result of the anxiety correlated with fulfilling the stereotype (Steele, 1995). In other words, reading or hearing a stereotype about one's in-group could influence individuals to worry that they personally are being included in the group and thus, a target of the stereotype. Currently, there is little to no known research regarding stereotype threat evoked with the use of fake stereotypes. That is, will a person fulfill a stereotype if the stereotype is fake. To test this, participants were invited to participate in a study in which they were given fake information regarding their in-group of political affiliation. Regardless of their actual political affiliation, participants were randomly assigned to read about list of attributes regarding their group that included statements that were either positive (e.g., lower on mental health stigma), negative (e.g., higher on mental health stigma), or unrelated (e.g., taller) to the current dependent measures. Then, participants completed a survey packet that contained, among others, a measure of mental health stigma (Community Attitudes Toward the Mentally Ill; CAMI; Taylor & Dear, 1981), empathy (the interpersonal reactivity index; Davis, 1980), racism (modern racism; McConahay, 1986), and psychological reactance (Dillard & Shen, 2005). It was hypothesized that participants’ scores would mimic their condition, regardless of the valence or true existence of the stereotype.

There were 121 participants collected by the end of the study. Analyses and findings do not support the initial hypotheses. There was no directional relationship between the condition (stereotype received) and mental health stigma (CAMI). Additionally, there was no relationship between the condition and racism scores. However, there was significance for the relationship of political affiliation on mental health stigma and racism. Results show that Republicans reported more racism and mental health stigma (for each of the subscales) than did Democrats. An added limitation is that political affiliation is a self-selected group. Stereotype threat research has mainly examined groups that are innate, or not self-selected, like sex and race. More research should be conducted regarding self-selected groups and stereotype threat.

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Was There an Effect?: Investigating Stereotype Threat with Fake Stereotypes

Previous research examining stereotype threat has shown that individuals who are reminded of a stereotype pertaining to their in-group are more likely to fulfill that stereotype, ironically as a result of the anxiety correlated with fulfilling the stereotype (Steele, 1995). In other words, reading or hearing a stereotype about one's in-group could influence individuals to worry that they personally are being included in the group and thus, a target of the stereotype. Currently, there is little to no known research regarding stereotype threat evoked with the use of fake stereotypes. That is, will a person fulfill a stereotype if the stereotype is fake. To test this, participants were invited to participate in a study in which they were given fake information regarding their in-group of political affiliation. Regardless of their actual political affiliation, participants were randomly assigned to read about list of attributes regarding their group that included statements that were either positive (e.g., lower on mental health stigma), negative (e.g., higher on mental health stigma), or unrelated (e.g., taller) to the current dependent measures. Then, participants completed a survey packet that contained, among others, a measure of mental health stigma (Community Attitudes Toward the Mentally Ill; CAMI; Taylor & Dear, 1981), empathy (the interpersonal reactivity index; Davis, 1980), racism (modern racism; McConahay, 1986), and psychological reactance (Dillard & Shen, 2005). It was hypothesized that participants’ scores would mimic their condition, regardless of the valence or true existence of the stereotype.

There were 121 participants collected by the end of the study. Analyses and findings do not support the initial hypotheses. There was no directional relationship between the condition (stereotype received) and mental health stigma (CAMI). Additionally, there was no relationship between the condition and racism scores. However, there was significance for the relationship of political affiliation on mental health stigma and racism. Results show that Republicans reported more racism and mental health stigma (for each of the subscales) than did Democrats. An added limitation is that political affiliation is a self-selected group. Stereotype threat research has mainly examined groups that are innate, or not self-selected, like sex and race. More research should be conducted regarding self-selected groups and stereotype threat.