Since the 1990s, “stereotype threat” — the assertion that the reason politically privileged groups score worse on high stakes tests is because they perversely make themselves live down to pernicious stereotypes — has been far more popular than vindicated by evidence from low stakes tests. It’s easy to get papers upholding stereotype threat published, while the many failed replications tend to be tossed into the circular file.
From Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin in 2018:
Cardiovascular and Self-Regulatory Consequences of SES-Based Social Identity Threat
September 2018 Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 45(5):014616721879515
Abdiel J. Flores
Tanya A. Chavez
22.12University of Missouri – St. Louis
This work examined the effects of socioeconomic status (SES)-based social identity threat on cardiovascular indexes of challenge and threat and self-regulatory strength. Participants (N = 104) took an exam described as either diagnostic of intellectual ability (identity threat) or framed as a problem-solving task (control) while we recorded cardiovascular reactivity and assessed participants’ physical self-control. Under identity threat, lower SES students exhibited impaired performance, reduced self-control, and cardiovascular threat reactivity. In contrast, higher SES students under threat exhibited the reverse pattern—a boost in performance, no change in self-regulation, and cardiovascular challenge reactivity. Furthermore, while measures of general arousal (heart rate and pre-ejection period) were unrelated to performance, cardiovascular patterns of challenge and threat were significantly associated with performance under identity threat. Results provide evidence that SES-based stigma influences physiological and self-regulatory processes.
From Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin in 2020:
First Published November 13, 2020 Correction
The editor and the authors agreed to retract the following article:
Flores AJ, Chavez TA, Bolger N, Casad BJ. Cardiovascular and Self-Regulatory Consequences of SES-Based Social Identity Threat. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. 2019;45(5):700-714. Original doi:10.1177/0146167218795157.
This article is being retracted at the request of all of the authors. The first author of the paper, Abdiel J. Flores, contacted the journal on his own initiative to inform it that he falsified data in the paper. He altered specific data values in Figures 1 and 2 and associated analyses that resulted in incorrect and misleading results on the effects of SES identity threat on cardiovascular challenge/threat reactivity and on mathematics performance. Because this data manipulation invalidates the findings, the entire article is being retracted. Mr. Flores informed the journal that he takes full responsibility for alteration of data; none of the co-authors participated in or had knowledge of the first author’s actions. Mr. Flores self-reported this matter to his institution, Columbia University, which is handling it in accordance with institutional policy and procedure.