Advances in Social Behavior Research

Advances in Social Behavior Research

ASBR ICEIPI 2022, 02 February 2023

Open Access | Article

Whether Informing Participants with High Self-Relevance of Gender Stereotype Alleviates Stereotype Activation Threat

Meijun Wang * 1
1 School of Psychology, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW, 2006, Australia

* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.

Advances in Social Behavior Research, ASBR ICEIPI 2022, 441-447
Published 02 February 2023. © 2023 The Author(s). Published by EWA Publishing
This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Citation Meijun Wang. Whether Informing Participants with High Self-Relevance of Gender Stereotype Alleviates Stereotype Activation Threat. ASBR (2023) ASBR ICEIPI 2022: 441-447.


Females, as a minority group, experience social inequalities relative to males in most societies. Part of the inequalities originates from gender-stereotypical thoughts, which impose threats and anxiety on females, worsening their performances. The study aimed to investigate the relationship between the self-relevance level of the stereotypical traits and the performance improvement under the informing women about stereotype threat. Female participants finished a gender role orientation inventory and were exposed to gender stereotype threats before the two-dimensional mental orientation task. The performance of the task was measured by reaction time and the number of correct answers. The participants in the teaching-intervention condition were additionally informed that gender stereotype threat could interfere with their spatial performance. Results showed that women with female gender role orientation performed worse than those without. However, no relation between gender role orientation and teaching-intervention was found. The results suggest a potential problem under the two-dimensional mental rotation tasks and provide future studies with further suggestions.


Gender Role Orientation, Priming, Gender Stereotypes, Mental Rotation, Gender Differences., Stereotype Threat


1. D. L. Schacter and R. L. Buckner, “Priming and the Brain,” Neuron, vol. 20, no. 2, pp. 185–195, Feb. 1998, doi: 10.1016/S0896-6273(00)80448-1.

2. T. Hundhammer and T. Mussweiler, “How sex puts you in gendered shoes: Sexuality-priming leads to gender-based self-perception and behavior.,” J. Pers. Soc. Psychol., vol. 103, no. 1, pp. 176–193, 2012, doi: 10.1037/a0028121.

3. T. Tempel and R. Neumann, “Gender Role Orientation Moderates Effects of Stereotype Activation on Test Performances,” Soc. Psychol., vol. 47, no. 2, pp. 63–73, Mar. 2016, doi: 10.1027/1864-9335/a000259.

4. T. M. Ortner and M. Sieverding, “Where are the Gender Differences? Male Priming Boosts Spatial Skills in Women,” Sex Roles, vol. 59, no. 3–4, pp. 274–281, Aug. 2008, doi: 10.1007/s11199-008-9448-9.

5. C. Chiu, Y. Hong, L. C. Lam, J. H.-Y. Fu, J. Y. Tong, and V. S.-L. Lee, “Stereotyping and self-presentation: Effects of Gender Stereotype Activation,” Group Process Intergroup Relat., vol. 1, pp. 81–96, 1998.

6. S. J. Spencer, C. M. Steele, and D. M. Quinn, “Stereotype Threat and Women’s Math Performance,” J. Exp. Soc. Psychol., vol. 35, no. 1, pp. 4–28, Jan. 1999, doi: 10.1006/jesp.1998.1373.

7. D. Alvarez-Vargas, “Spatial anxiety mediates the sex difference in adult mental rotation test performance,” p. 17, 2020.

8. M. Wraga, L. Duncan, E. C. Jacobs, M. Helt, and J. Church, “Stereotype susceptibility narrows the gender gap in imagined self-rotation performance,” Psychon. Bull. Rev., vol. 13, no. 5, pp. 813–819, Oct. 2006, doi: 10.3758/BF03194002.

9. M. A. Pavlova, S. Weber, E. Simoes, and A. N. Sokolov, “Gender Stereotype Susceptibility,” PLoS ONE, vol. 9, no. 12, p. e114802, Dec. 2014, doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0114802.

10. A. C. Neubauer, S. Bergner, and M. Schatz, “Two- vs. three-dimensional presentation of mental rotation tasks: Sex differences and effects of training on performance and brain activation,” Intelligence, vol. 38, no. 5, pp. 529–539, Sep. 2010, doi: 10.1016/j.intell.2010.06.001.

11. M. Johns, T. Schmader, and A. Martens, “Knowing Is Half the Battle: Teaching Stereotype Threat as a Means of Improving Women’s Math Performance,” Psychol. Sci., vol. 16, no. 3, pp. 175–179, Mar. 2005, doi: 10.1111/j.0956-7976.2005.00799.x.

12. H.-H. D. Nguyen and A. M. Ryan, “Does stereotype threat affect test performance of minorities and women? A meta-analysis of experimental evidence.,” J. Appl. Psychol., vol. 93, no. 6, pp. 1314–1334, 2008, doi: 10.1037/a0012702.

13. D.-Z. Liu, H.-X. Huang, F.-Q. Hua, Q. Gong, Q. Huang, and X. Li, “A New Sex-Role Inventory (CSRI-50) Indicates Changes of Sex Role among Chinese College Students,” Acta Psychol. Sin., vol. 43, no. 6, pp. 639–649, 2011.

14. S. B. Ehrlich, S. C. Levine, and S. Goldin-Meadow, “The importance of gesture in children’s spatial reasoning.,” Dev. Psychol., vol. 42, no. 6, pp. 1259–1268, 2006, doi: 10.1037/0012-1649.42.6.1259.

15. M. Krüger, “Three-Year-Olds Solved a Mental Rotation Task Above Chance Level, but No Linear Relation Concerning Reaction Time and Angular Disparity Presented Itself,” Front. Psychol., vol. 9, p. 1796, Oct. 2018, doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.01796.

16. Matsumoto Kenji and Tanaka Keiji, “Conflict and Cognitive Control,” Science, vol. 303, no. 5660, pp. 969–970, Feb. 2004, doi: 10.1126/science.1094733.

Data Availability

The datasets used and/or analyzed during the current study will be available from the authors upon reasonable request.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Authors who publish this journal agree to the following terms:

1. Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgment of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.

2. Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgment of its initial publication in this journal.

3. Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See Open Access Instruction).

Copyright © 2023 EWA Publishing. Unless Otherwise Stated