Research on stereotype threat has captured the interest of a large number of researchers throughout the last two decades; and yet, the role of some key mechanisms linking individuals’ social identity to their abilities to perform at an optimal levels in a variety of domains is still only partially clarified. As regards the role of anxiety, convincing evidence has been produced illustrating the role of its cognitive (e.g., worry, rumination) and physiological components (e.g., autonomic activation and neural correlates) in determining performance drops and – in some cases – performance boosts in response to negative or positive stereotypes. However, numerous studies conducted thus far have failed to determine a clear role for anxiety, especially when anxiety had been assessed by means of self-report measures, or when the focus has been on the emotional component of anxiety. Another important limitation of the vast majority of the studies reviewed above is that attention has been mainly devoted to transitory anxiety states experienced in the assessment context. By contrast, only few studies have attempted to clarify whether and how high levels of dispositional anxiety – either as a general stable disposition, or as a specific tendency to negatively react to a specific domain of activity, such as mathematics – contribute to increasing or decreasing individuals’ vulnerabilities to stereotypes attached to their social groups. Finally, the role of anxiety has been surprisingly overlooked in research on stereotype threat with young children. It is hoped that future research will address this gap, as the mechanisms and the boundary conditions that influence susceptibility to stereotype threat in adult women and in young girls may not necessary overlap. Clarifying all these gaps will indeed help us to design more effective interventions aimed at reducing performance drops stemming from negative societal stereotypes, as well as those originating from positive stereotypes, as in the case of the phenomenon of choking under pressure.

Gender Stereotypes, Anxiety, and Math Outcomes in Adults and Children

carlo tomasetto
2019

Abstract

Research on stereotype threat has captured the interest of a large number of researchers throughout the last two decades; and yet, the role of some key mechanisms linking individuals’ social identity to their abilities to perform at an optimal levels in a variety of domains is still only partially clarified. As regards the role of anxiety, convincing evidence has been produced illustrating the role of its cognitive (e.g., worry, rumination) and physiological components (e.g., autonomic activation and neural correlates) in determining performance drops and – in some cases – performance boosts in response to negative or positive stereotypes. However, numerous studies conducted thus far have failed to determine a clear role for anxiety, especially when anxiety had been assessed by means of self-report measures, or when the focus has been on the emotional component of anxiety. Another important limitation of the vast majority of the studies reviewed above is that attention has been mainly devoted to transitory anxiety states experienced in the assessment context. By contrast, only few studies have attempted to clarify whether and how high levels of dispositional anxiety – either as a general stable disposition, or as a specific tendency to negatively react to a specific domain of activity, such as mathematics – contribute to increasing or decreasing individuals’ vulnerabilities to stereotypes attached to their social groups. Finally, the role of anxiety has been surprisingly overlooked in research on stereotype threat with young children. It is hoped that future research will address this gap, as the mechanisms and the boundary conditions that influence susceptibility to stereotype threat in adult women and in young girls may not necessary overlap. Clarifying all these gaps will indeed help us to design more effective interventions aimed at reducing performance drops stemming from negative societal stereotypes, as well as those originating from positive stereotypes, as in the case of the phenomenon of choking under pressure.
Mathematics Anxiety. What is Known and What is Still to be Understood
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carlo tomasetto
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11585/686401
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