Women are not less field independent than men—the role of stereotype threat

Dariusz Drążkowski, Jakub Szwedo, Aleksandra Krajczewska, Anna Adamczuk, Krzysztof Piątkowski, Marcin Jadwiżyc, Adam Rakowski
Published Online:
30 Nov 2015
Volume/Issue No:
Volume 52 Issue 5

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Prior research has shown that females are less field independent (FI) than males. However, when gender identity is salient, performance on tests assessing constructs similar to FI may be hindered, because of stereotype threat. This study examined the impact of stereotype threat on gender differences in FI. We expected that (a) reporting one's own gender prior to FI testing and (b) having an opposite‐gender experimenter would activate stereotype threat, and in turn result in lower performance on a test of FI among females. Overall, 170 participants were randomly assigned to one of eight conditions in a between‐participants design varying the participant's gender, experimenter's gender and timing of the gender question (before vs. after test). Results showed that reporting one's gender before the FI test led to lower FI performance among females. Furthermore, females achieved higher FI when experimenters were females and gender questions were administered after the FI test.

© 2015 International Union of Psychological Science