A Review of the Stereotype Threat Literature and Its Application in a Neurological Population

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Abstract

Stereotype threat is a situational phenomenon, leading to test performance decrements, in which a member of a stigmatized group feels pressured by the possibility of confirming or being judged by a negative stereotype. This review article highlights the progression of research in the stereotype threat field, and its relevance to neurological populations. Early studies focused on demonstrating this effect in African American, women, and elderly populations. Since this time, research has continued to focus on these populations but has moved to elucidating stereotype threat's mediating psychological factors, studying the impact of individual differences in response to stereotype threat, and attempting to reduce its overall effect. A proposal for further study in neurological populations, under the framework of stereotype threat, comprises the last portion of the paper. It is argued that this social psychological phenomenon may, at least in part, account for poor neuropsychological test performance for neurologically compromised individuals.

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