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Smart Girls, Dumb Boys!? : How the Discourse on “Failing Boys” Impacts Performances and Motivational Goal Orientation in German School Students

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      We investigated effects of the media’s portrayal of boys as “scholastic failures” on secondary school students. The negative portrayal induced stereotype threat (boys underperformed in reading), stereotype reactance (boys displayed stronger learning goals towards mathematics but not reading), and stereotype lift (girls performed better in reading but not in mathematics). Apparently, boys were motivated to disconfirm their group’s negative depiction, however, while they could successfully apply compensatory strategies when describing their learning goals, this motivation did not enable them to perform better. Overall the media portrayal thus contributes to the maintenance of gender stereotypes, by impairing boys’ and strengthening girls’ performance in female connoted domains and by prompting boys to align their learning goals to the gender connotation of the domain.

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      Most cited references 41

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      Does stereotype threat affect test performance of minorities and women? A meta-analysis of experimental evidence.

      A meta-analysis of stereotype threat effects was conducted and an overall mean effect size of |.26| was found, but true moderator effects existed. A series of hierarchical moderator analyses evidenced differential effects of race- versus gender-based stereotypes. Women experienced smaller performance decrements than did minorities when tests were difficult: mean ds = |.36| and |.43|, respectively. For women, subtle threat-activating cues produced the largest effect, followed by blatant and moderately explicit cues: ds = |.24|, |.18|, and |.17|, respectively; explicit threat-removal strategies were more effective in reducing stereotype threat effects than subtle ones: ds = |.14| and |.33|, respectively. For minorities, moderately explicit stereotype threat-activating cues produced the largest effect, followed by blatant and subtle cues: ds = |.64|, |.41|, and |.22|, respectively; explicit removal strategies enhanced stereotype threat effects compared with subtle strategies: ds = |.80| and |.34|, respectively. In addition, stereotype threat affected moderately math-identified women more severely than highly math-identified women: ds = |.52| and |.29|, respectively; low math-identified women suffered the least from stereotype threat: d= |.11|. Theoretical and practical implications of these findings are discussed.
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        Battle of the sexes: gender stereotype confirmation and reactance in negotiations.

        The authors examined how gender stereotypes affect negotiation performance. Men outperformed women when the negotiation was perceived as diagnostic of ability (Experiment 1) or the negotiation was linked to gender-specific traits (Experiment 2), suggesting the threat of negative stereotype confirmation hurt women's performance relative to men. The authors hypothesized that men and women confirm gender stereotypes when they are activated implicitly, but when stereotypes are explicitly activated, people exhibit stereotype reactance, or the tendency to behave in a manner inconsistent with a stereotype. Experiment 3 confirmed this hypothesis. In Experiment 4, the authors examined the cognitive processes involved in stereotype reactance and the conditions under which cooperative behaviors between men and women can be promoted at the bargaining table (by activating a shared identity that transcends gender).
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          Stereotype Lift


            Author and article information

            [ 1 ] Department of Educational Science and Psychology, Freie Universität Berlin, Germany
            Author notes
            Martin Latsch, Department of Educational Science and Psychology, Freie Universität Berlin, Habelschwerdter Allee 45, 14195 Berlin, Germany, +49 30 8385-6954, +49 30 8385-6959, martin.latsch@
            Social Psychology
            Hogrefe Publishing
            February 2014
            : 45
            : 2
            : 112-126
            zsp_45_2_112 10.1027/1864-9335/a000167
            Self URI (journal-page):
            Original Article


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