Distinctiveness-based stereotype threat and the moderating role of coaction contexts
Two experiments, using computer avatars, examined the role of coaction contexts (competition versus cooperation) in distinctiveness-based stereotype threat. In Experiment 1, African-American participants performed an anagram-solving task with two ostensible coactors either in a high-distinctiveness (participant being a numerical minority with two Caucasian coactors) or in a low-distinctiveness (racial-cues absent with silhouette-image avatars) environment; coaction contexts were structured either in terms of competition or in terms of cooperation. Participants situated in the high-distinctiveness environment performed better when they engaged in cooperation than in competition whereas those in the low-distinctive environment did not show a significant difference. In Experiment 2, which was conducted to replicate and extend Experiment 1 with a different social category/domain, females took a Mathematics test with two ostensible coactors. Whereas the competition versus cooperation difference was not significant among participants placed in a low-distinctiveness (female-majority or all-female) environment, participants situated in a high-distinctiveness (female-minority) environment showed significantly lower levels of stereotype-associated concerns and better performance on the math test in cooperation than in competition. Our findings suggest that distinctiveness-based stereotype threat is less likely to occur when the context of group performance is framed as cooperation as opposed to competition. (C) 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Lee, Jong-Eun Roselyn and Clifford Nass. "Distinctiveness-Based Stereotype Threat and the Moderating Role of Coaction Contexts." Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 48, no. 1.00 (2012): 192-199.