Has Stereotype Threat Dissipated Over Time? A Cross-Temporal Meta-Analysis


Stereotype threat – the social psychological threat that arises when one is in a situation or doing something for which a negative stereotype about one’s group applies (Steele, 1997) – has been broadly studied throughout the social sciences over the past two decades (for reviews, see Lewis & Sekaquaptewa, 2016; Steele, 2010). It is a theory that is purported to explain variance in disparities between those who are negatively stereotyped in certain domains (e.g. racial-ethnic minorities in academics, women in mathematics) and those who are not (e.g. White men in academics; Steele, 2010). Studies on stereotype threat have been conducted hundreds of times, and have yielded mixed findings. Early studies tended to yield positive findings (for meta-analytic review, see Nguyen & Ryan, 2008) whereas more recent reanalysis (Zigerell, 2017) and replication attempts (e.g., Finnigan & Corker, 2016) have failed to replicate findings. These conflicting accounts call into question the robustness of the paradigm, and raise two possibilities in our minds: either the strength of the evidence was weak to begin with, or something has changed over time to reduce the likelihood of finding stereotype threat effects. We test these possibilities in a pre-registered cross-temporal meta-analysis using multiple meta-analytic techniques.

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