Stereotype Threat

Stereotype threat is the subjective experience of anxiety when a person is put in a situation where he or she has the potential to confirm a negative stereotype about the social group to which they belong.
Individuals show greater degrees of this bias when performing tasks that they wish to perform well on. Consequences of the stereotype threat include decreased task performance as well as a tendency for the individuals to blame themselves for perceived failures (1).
Stereotype threat was first demonstrated to undermine task performance in the early 1990’s, through the research of Claude Steele and Joshua Aronson (2).


(1) Koch, S; Muller, S; Sieverding, M (2008). “Women and computers. Effects of stereotype threat on attribution of failure“. Computers & Education 51 (4): 1795–1803.

(2) Steele, Claude M.; Aronson, Joshua (1995). “Stereotype threat and the intellectual test performance of African Americans“. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 69 (5): 797–811.

Memory training