The standard intellectual and cognitive assessment.
Discuss the role that stereotype threat may play in standard intellectual and cognitive assessment.
Role of Stereotype Threat in Standard Intellectual and Cognitive Assessment
This paper scrutinizes the role of stereotype threat to standard intellectual and cognitive assessments. The preferred methodology for this task is systematic review of literature. Extant reviews associate stereotype threat with a number of adverse outcomes, namely; (i) Cognitive Underachievement from Increased Psychosomatic Stressors; (ii) Poor output on academic and nonacademic pursuits; (iii) underrepresentation and poor scores on literacy by males in contrast to their female counterparts; (iv) reduced self-esteem and poor scores by girls on STEM disciplines; (v) decline in cognitive capabilities among older research subjects; and (vi) reduced computational capabilities and efficiency of short term memory for both boys and girls.
Key Words: stereotype threat, cognitive capabilities, intellectual
Stereotype threat, as an area of social psychology, has been the subject of heightened research in the past one decade. Social psychologists define stereotype threat as the tendency in victims of adverse stereotyping to act in ways that disapprove the stereotypes (Rogus-Pulia, Humbert, Kolehmainen & Carnes, 2018). A number of studies associate the resultant strain with poor output on academic and nonacademic pursuits. Incidentally, genetic intelligence hypothesizes that victims of stereotype threat could underachieve on “diagnostic tests” due to chronic fear of succumbing to adverse labels (Pennington, Heim, Levy and Larkin, 2016). This paper analyses the role of stereotype threat in standard intellectual and cognitive assessment. Scrutiny of extant literature affirms a positive correlation between stereotype threat and adverse intellectual and assessment outcomes.
Researchers conceptualize that stereotype threat factors, including “anxiety, negative thinking and mind-wandering” tend to exploit “working memory resources” (Pennington, Heim, Levy and Larkin, 2016). Indeed, similar researchers have argued that “stereotype threatened” persons could elicit responses that negate adverse labels, which could adversely impact cognitive output. Nevertheless, recent empirical evidence shows that stereotype threat impacts communities in dissimilar ways. For instance, studies by Pennington, Heim, Levy and Larkin (2016) have established that Black Americans underachieved on oral assessments, particularly the ones designed to measure cognitive capabilities. However, this cohort performs better in “non-diagnostic” tests in comparison to their Caucasian counterparts. Yet, when arbitrated by multi-threat structural tools, the finding theorizes that dissimilar versions of stereotype threat could be impacted differently.
A comprehensive analysis by Chaffee, Lou and Noels (2020) has demonstrated that men were more likely to register poor scores in language learning, a possible attribution to their underrepresentation in linguistics. Empirical evidence shows that stereotypical prejudices had adverse impact on academic outcomes and esteem in academic disciplines and assessments under the moderating influence of stereotype threat (Chaffee, Lou & Noels, 2020). For instance, girls were observed to underachieve in science disciplines believing that such subjects were more favorable to their male peers. The same study also involved four investigations and 542 participants on the impact of “explicit stereotype threats on men’s performance in language-related tasks” proved that stereotype threat had insignificant impact on men’s performance in language settings. These findings seem to authenticate the null hypothesis, though further research is recommended.
Another study by Sanchis-Segura et al. (2018) acknowledges prevalent notion that men have enhanced “visuospatial” capabilities. Differences in these capabilities and STEM related cognitive spheres such as engineering and mathematics, are believed to cause limited interest and poor participation of girls in STEM careers. On the other hand, fairly antique evidence from other scholars have shown positive correlations between gender-specific connections and overt views on one hand, and context-specific factors on intellectual outcomes on the other (Sanchis-Segura, 2018). The study provided context to pertinent matters related to the impact of “the situational reactivation of stereotypic gender-science views in the performance of 3D mental rotation chronometric tasks (3DMRT)” (Sanchis-Segura, 2018). More precisely, the study evaluated the unambiguous opinions and hidden relationships via “Implicit Association Tests” administered to both males and females from social sciences and STEM disciplines, and paralleled their outcomes in 3DMRT upon receiving stereotype-related and unrelated empirical instructions. Research findings prove that latent “stereotypic gender science” relate positively with 3DMRT outcomes among men and women. However, gender-specific variances emerge, and are observable under “stereotype-reactivating” conditions (Sanchis-Segura, 2018).
Moreover, the findings demonstrate that self-esteem had an impact on the empirical instructions. Similar findings show that educational attainment arbitrates the instructions, thereby endorsing 3DMRT performance variations in male and female subjects in the humanities; yet, the same trend is not replicated in STEM learners. The foregoing findings dispute popular beliefs that male subjects have greater intellectual rotation capabilities. They also resolve the intrigues surrounding complex-reality, and could potentially stimulate stereotypical response variations in both male and female subjects.
Findings from cross sequential studies by Barber (2017) seem to dispute the prevailing perception of stereotype threat as a “singular construct” impacted by static cross-gender factors in different geographical settings. From a methodical locus, the Shapiro and “Neuberg’s (2007) Multi-Threat Framework” could be used to prove that stereotype threats are a largely restricted problem rather than a “group-reputation threat”. The decline in cognitive ability among older individuals is one such instance. Since this phenomenon vary from other stereotype threats among demographic groups – such as adverse pairing of minority learners with inferior cognitive capabilities – the researchers found that singular constructs do generally apply in “age-based stereotype threat about cognitive decline” (Barber, 2017). Indeed, the evidence calls for one to venture beyond perceived threats to suggest that factors underpinning stereotype threats are mutable over time. Similarly, age-mediated superiority has been observed among older voters, especially in the area of emotional intelligence. Some have cited this phenomenon as proof that stereotype threat has minimal impact on intellectual abilities. On the whole, the findings underscore the significance of understanding of stereotype threat with a case by case focus as some effects will generally not be the same across groups.
Whereas contemporary research has accentuated the significance of metacognitive factors in social engagements, the extent to which “social context might reciprocally impact individuals’ metacognition” is unclear (Gajdos, et. al., 2019). Such a hypothetical proposition has been used as the basis upon which delineation of effects of stereotype threat on metacognition is conducted. To test the hypothesis, the researchers deployed a “visual search task” approach to analyse the conduct and validity of the search processes via a “computational model” to delineate the exactitude “of their metacognition”. The findings suggested that stereotype threat and social contexts improved metacognition (Gajdos, et al., 2019).
Practical instances of implied prejudice have been observed among individuals without their conscious knowledge. For instance, nonparametric reviews have demonstrated that stereotype threat tend to compel individuals to behave in ways that are contrary to stereotypes against them (Pennington, Heim, Levy & Larkin, 2016). These findings parallel another study by (Rogus-Pulia, Humbert, Kolehmainen & Carnes, 2018) which contends that women, rather than men, are more likely to anticipate adverse stereotyping from peers. Similar evidences show that women expect to be rated lower on performance indicators such as excellence in academic and vocational leadership (Rogus-Pulia, Humbert, Kolehmainen & Carnes, 2018).
The same phenomenon is further compounded in women who end up as the only females in male dominated industries. This view is further validated by studies in which randomly selected women are made to participate in mathematics examination in men only settings. The studies show that women registered poor scores in such cognitive tests compared to their counterparts who undertook tests in the presence of other women. Methodical scrutiny of the underlying effects of stereotype threats by Rogus-Pulia, Humbert, Kolehmainen and Carnes (2018) showed that the stated performances are arbitrated by distinctive yet related factors, namely: (i) aggravated biological stress levels that compromise prefrontal functions; (ii) unusual obsession with high performance; and (iii) adaptive responses that trigger the urge to subdue harmful sentiments and sensations. Overally, these factors have been found to affect cognitive and intellectual performance.
Bedynska, Krejtz and Sedek (2018) have observed that stereotype threat impacts outcomes in various groups across various disciplines. The study subjected carefully selected data on secondary school age girls to “structural equation modeling” to delineate patterns of prolonged stereotype threat, computational capabilities achievement, and efficiency of short-term memory functions (Bedynska, Krejtz and Sedek, 2018). Specifically, the study focused on impacts of recurrent exposure to stereotype threat on cognitive vulnerability. This view hinges on empirical evidences suggesting that failure to gain from intellectual conscription could give way to “cognitive exhaustion” (Bedynska, Krejtz and Sedek, 2018). This corroborates recent research which show that extended exposure to stereotype threat could yield unfavourable computational outcomes. Furthermore, recurrent interaction with stereotype threats resulted in reduced efficiency of short-term memory capabilities, which appears to validate the view that compromised short term memory could compound stereotype threats.
On the whole, findings from reviewed literature have established a connection between elevated stereotype threat and adverse intellectual and assessment outcomes. In particular, the studies found that stereotype threat led to intellectual vulnerability and poor performance of minority groups, especially African Americans in non-diagnostic tests. The studies also proved that the phenomenon disproportionately affected women. Cognitive vulnerability, delineated as a transient state in which the threatened individual succumbs to cognitive exhaustion, leads to poorer academic and cognitive test outcomes (Liu, Zhao, Zhang& Dang, 2017). However, stereotype threat was found to improve metacognition, especially when aided by favourable social contexts.
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