Use Of A Stereotype Cue On The Perceived Level Of Mathematics Essay

Use Of A Stereotype Cue On The Perceived Level Of Mathematics Essay

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A stereotype is a widely held simplified idea of a group, people, or thing. Humans are primed with different stimuli everyday, and sometimes the cues from the outside world induce certain stereotypes. Depending on what these cues are, we might make positive or negative assumptions about a person without even knowing that we are doing so. Research has been done which supports the notion that when presented with certain information, people will make inferences about another person based on gender (Paulhus, Martin, & Murphy, 1992). Our study examined the effect of a stereotype cue on the perceived level of mathematics in men and women.
A previous study by Persson, and Stanley (1980) examined the phenomenon that women are generally less competent than men in the field of mathematics. Through data collected by the Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth, the discrepancies of math scores from the College Board’s Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) between boys and girls from 7th to 10th grade were used to investigate if women are worse at math than men. Exceptionally talented junior high and high school students were recruited to take both the verbal and mathematics section of the SAT. There were no differences in performance in the verbal section between female and male students, but significant differences were seen in the mathematics section. The average score of the male students was significantly higher than the average score of the female students. This data is significant because until 10th grade, both female and male students had essentially the same amount of education in mathematics. However, despite having the same level of education in mathematics, male students performed better than female students in the mathematics section ...


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...e. We hypothesized that there would be a significant main effect for the type of visual stimulus. A significant main effect would exist because the stereotype-consistent visual stimulus would cue the stereotype that women are less competent at math, and therefore the perceived competency ratings would be significantly lower for the stereotype-consistent visual stimulus. We thus predicted that there would be a significant interaction between the two independent variables such that the stereotype-consistent visual stimulus would further increase the gap between male and female competency levels. This would happen because the stereotype-consistent visual stimulus would make the participant infer that the female student is confused because she is not good at math and would thereby draw the conclusion that the female target is less competent at math than the male target.

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