Turning up the volume of stereotype threat: Music, gender, and mathematics
Pappas, Christina L.
- Stereotypes are prevalent in everyday life, and even the mere awareness or implicit activation of a negative stereotype regarding a group to which an individual belongs can lead to significant performance deficits. Stereotype threat - the situational phenomenon whereby excessive anxiety about inadvertently confirming an existing negative stereotype regarding one's group ultimately hinders ability ... read more- can be elicited among any individual invested in a task associated with an identity-relevant negative stereotype. Stereotypes can be conveyed through communicative mediums such as music, which has become increasingly widespread, accessible, and influential in North American society. Thus, the present study aimed to determine whether popular songs containing female-specific negative stereotypes would be sufficient to induce stereotype threat in highly qualified young women taking a domain-relevant mathematics test. It was hypothesized that these women would perform more poorly on a difficult quantitative task while listening to background music casting females in negative stereotypical roles as opposed to background music depicting females in positions of empowerment. Furthermore, it was predicted that young men would be unaffected by the female-specific stereotypes and perform similarly across all music conditions. Support for both hypotheses was generated. Implications and future directions were discussed. / / Keywords: stereotype threat, music, gender, mathematicsread less