Sep 27, 2023
Study finds negative gender stereotypes hinders performance

A recent study published in Sex Roles sheds light on how these stereotypes can significantly impact the motor performance and learning of adolescent girls in sports. Researchers found that exposure to prolonged negative gender stereotypes can hinder skill development.

Previous research has shown that gender stereotypes can lead to a phenomenon known as stereotype threat. Stereotype threat occurs when individuals, aware of negative stereotypes about their group, experience anxiety or fear of confirming those stereotypes. This anxiety can hinder their performance, making it a self-fulfilling prophecy.

stereotypesA recent story from detailed the study and what went into the research. Below is an excerpt from the story.

“Our previous research (Mousavi et al., 2021; ‘You Kick Like A Girl!’ The Effects of Gender Stereotypes on Motor Skill Learning in Young Adolescents‏) showed that short exposure to negative gender stereotypes affected motor performance for approximately three days, and eventually, the effect disappeared,” explained study author Seyyed Mohammadreza Mousavi of the University of Isfahan.

“In fact, short-term exposure to negative stereotypes led to short-term outcomes. However, the single stereotype manipulation used in most studies may not be realistic and may not fully capture how negative stereotypes influence individuals in stereotyped societies. In reality, individuals may be exposed to stereotypical information many times a week via diverse sources, including advertisements, newspapers, or conversations.”

“Therefore, to gain a more comprehensive ecological understanding of the stereotype threat effect and its endurance, we investigated the impact of prolonged activation of gender stereotypes on the performance and learning of adolescent girls.”

To investigate the impact of negative gender stereotypes on girls’ sports performance, the researchers conducted a carefully designed study that last nearly two weeks. They recruited a group of 46 adolescent Iranian girls (average age 14) who were novice futsal players, a form of indoor soccer.

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The participants were divided into two groups: one repeatedly exposed to stereotype threat (ST group) and another not exposed to stereotype threat (NS group). For example, girls in the ST group were told, “You are going to perform a task of natural athletic ability that has been shown to produce gender differences; boys have been shown to perform better on this task.” In addition, approximately 48 hours later, participants in the ST group received a card that suggested that men had historically dominated the sport. In contrast, girls the NS group were told that futsal is a sport where both men and women can perform equally well.

The researchers then conducted a manipulation check to ensure that the stereotype manipulations were effective. This involved asking participants questions related to gender and sports to gauge their beliefs and perceptions.
To read the full story from about the study, click here. 

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