Bonny L Hartley and Robbie M Sutton

Three studies examined the role of stereotype threat in boys’ academic underachievement. Study 1 (children aged 4-10, n = 238) showed that girls from age 4 and boys from age 7 believed, and thought adults believed, that boys are academically inferior to girls. Study 2 manipulated stereotype threat, informing children aged 7-8 (n = 162) that boys tend to do worse than girls at school. This manipulation hindered boys’ performance on a reading, writing, and math test, but did not affect girls’. Study 3 counteracted stereotype threat, informing children aged 6-9 (n= 184) that boys and girls were expected to perform similarly. This improved the performance of boys and did not affect that of girls.

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