Gendered stereotype threat?

Interesting article here about women chess players performing less well when playing men.
I wondered if it might be an instance of the phenomena of ‘stereotype threat’, discussed by Steele (1999) . This phenomena is the experience of ‘the threat of being viewed through the lens of a negative stereotype, or the fear of doing something that would inadvertently confirm that stereotype’. His claim is that being aware of such stereotypes and this kind of threat leads to self-consciousness (‘spotlight anxiety’), or demotivation, hence under-performance.
Steele’s study is of the performance of black college students in the US, in the face of racial stereotypes, but may well be pertinent to gender stereotypes, as the chess case suggests, and as discussed with reference to mathematical performance here.

3 thoughts on “Gendered stereotype threat?

  1. I hear Linda Martin Alcoff discuss this topic in an APA session on her book, Visible Identities, which looks at many of the causes and consequences of gender and ethnic identities. i’d recommend it highly.

  2. Stereotype threat is an extremely interesting phenomenon. I find myself conforming to gender stereotypes all the time. When I am trying to do something ‘typical for guys’ around men I get anxious and do it badly (eg. basic maths problems). When they guys then tease me about being terrible at whatever I was trying to do it really annoys me because I know the ‘stereotype threat’ influenced my behaviour in the first place, and their teasing me will only enforce the power of the ‘stereotype threat’ even more.

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