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, 137 (4), 691-705

Stereotype Threat and Executive Resource Depletion: Examining the Influence of Emotion Regulation

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Stereotype Threat and Executive Resource Depletion: Examining the Influence of Emotion Regulation

Michael Johns et al. J Exp Psychol Gen.

Abstract

Research shows that stereotype threat reduces performance by diminishing executive resources, but less is known about the psychological processes responsible for these impairments. The authors tested the idea that targets of stereotype threat try to regulate their emotions and that this regulation depletes executive resources, resulting in underperformance. Across 4 experiments, they provide converging evidence that targets of stereotype threat spontaneously attempt to control their expression of anxiety and that such emotion regulation depletes executive resources needed to perform well on tests of cognitive ability. They also demonstrate that providing threatened individuals with a means to effectively cope with negative emotions--by reappraising the situation or the meaning of their anxiety--can restore executive resources and improve test performance. They discuss these results within the framework of an integrated process model of stereotype threat, in which affective and cognitive processes interact to undermine performance.

Figures

Figure 1
Figure 1
Means and standard errors for the attention allocation index as a function of the description of the dot probe task and stereotype threat condition in Study 1.
Figure 2
Figure 2
Means and standard errors for attention allocation on the dot probe task as a function of anxiety reappraisal manipulation and participant ethnicity in Study 4.

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