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Authors: Holden, LaTasha Renee
Advisors: Sinclair, Stacey
Conway, Andrew R.A.
Contributors: Psychology Department
Keywords: mindset
stereotype threat
working memory
Subjects: Psychology
Cognitive psychology
Social psychology
Issue Date: 2018
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: Stereotype threat effects occur when stigmatized individuals are primed with a negative stereotype and underperform relative to a control group. During such situations the pressure of performing coupled with evaluative anxiety may cause even the most capable students to “choke.” This dissertation examines ways stereotype threat effects may be different from one student to the next. Chapter 1 lays the foundation for exploring stereotype threat in a novel way, considering individual differences from cognitive and non-cognitive perspectives—examining the effect beyond the group level. As a cognitive factor, working memory capacity (WMC) has been implicated. Here, the role of WMC is investigated as a mediator and/or moderator of stereotype threat for gender and ethnicity. Chapters 2-4 reveal a general lack of evidence for the threat effect in the form of a performance decrement compared to control. Chapters 2-3 reveal evidence that trait WMC moderates the effect of stereotype threat for ethnicity such that higher WMC is associated with higher predicted scores on standardized tests under threat. Higher scores on non-cognitive factors of mindset, grit, and/or conscientiousness have been suggested to aid performance during threatening academic situations but effects of these generally were not found. Chapter 3 provides no strong evidence that more malleable mindsets are associated with higher predicted scores on standardized tests. Chapter 4 presents evidence that under threat for gender identity participants performed better, revealing no differential effect of malleable versus fixed mindsets under stereotype threat. General discussion considers replication issues within the stereotype threat literature as well as the implications of the present results for future work in this area.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog:
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Psychology

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