Joshua Aronson: Intelligence and the Stereotype Threat

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Joshua Aronson
 is Associate Professor of Applied Psychology at the NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development. His work seeks to understand and remediate race and gender gaps in educational achievement and standardized test performance.

Aronson and his colleagues have uncovered some exciting and encouraging answers to the problems of stigma psychology: the way human beings respond to negative stereotypes about their racial or gender group. What they have found suggests that being targeted by well-known cultural stereotypes ("blacks are unintelligent," "girls can't do math," and so on) can be very threatening. This predicament has been termed "Stereotype Threat” and engenders a number of interesting psychological and physiological responses, many of which interfere with intellectual performance and academic motivation. Aronson has found that much can be done to boost both achievement and the enjoyment of school by understanding and attending to these psychological processes, thereby unseating the power of stereotypes and prejudice.
Read a New York Times opinion article about the Stereotype Threat.