Mere effort and stereotype threat performance effects

Jeremy P. Jamieson, Stephen G. Harkins
2007 Journal of Personality and Social Psychology  
Although the fact that stereotype threat impacts performance is well established, the underlying process(es) is(are) not clear. Recently, T. Schmader and M. Johns (2003) argued for a working memory interference account, which proposes that performance suffers because cognitive resources are expended on processing information associated with negative stereotypes. The antisaccade task provides a vehicle to test this account because optimal performance requires working memory resources to inhibit
more » ... he tendency to look at an irrelevant, peripheral cue (the prepotent response) and to generate volitional saccades to the target. If stereotype threat occupies working memory resources, then the ability to inhibit the prepotent response and to launch volitional saccades will be impaired, and performance will suffer. In contrast, S. Harkins's (2006) mere effort account argues that stereotype threat participants are motivated to perform well, which potentiates the prepotent response, but also leads to efforts to counter this tendency if participants recognize that the response is incorrect, know the correct response, and have the opportunity to make it. Results from 4 experiments support the mere effort but not the working memory interference account.
doi:10.1037/0022-3514.93.4.544 pmid:17892331 fatcat:razdszncenef5hmy5ljrrlrgbe