A Resource-Competition Model: Understanding the Relationship Between Stereotype Threat and Working Memory Capacity

Navetta, Kevin [Browse]
Senior thesis
66 pages


Conway, Andrew [Browse]
Graziano, Michael [Browse]
Princeton University. Department of Psychology [Browse]
Class year
Restrictions note
Walk-in Access. This thesis can only be viewed on computer terminals at the Mudd Manuscript Library.
Summary note
The present paper proposes a resource-competition model for understanding the relationship between stereotype threat and working memory capacity. Stereotype threat research is vast and thorough, but recent individual differences research has provided new insight into the cognitive mechanisms behind stereotype threat effects. Schmader & Johns (2003) and Regner et al. (2010) respectively found a mediating and moderating relationship of working memory capacity on stereotype threat effects. These studies suggest that stereotype threat works by tying up attentional resources needed for successful task performance. The resource-competition model presented here proposes that stereotype threat produces negative thoughts and stress that set in motion a process of mental control, which competes for attentional resources needed for successful test performance. This competition is manifest in a lowered working memory capacity, meaning less attentional resources are available for the test. The importance of the resource-competition model is discussed with regard to the current societal debate about women’s involvement in STEM fields of study and occupation.

Supplementary Information