Trust, Belonging, and Reducing Stereotype Threat Claude Steele’s theory of stereotype threat discussed earlier in the chapter received a great deal of attention not only because it helped explain the underper- formance or reduced interests of large groups of people in various academic and career pursuits but also because it offered encouragement. It illustrated that mak- ing even small changes in the situational factors that give rise to stereotype threat can reduce the tremendous weight of negative stereotypes, allowing the targets of stereotypes to perform to their potential.
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Dozens and dozens of experiments on stereotype threat were published soon after the theory was introduced in the mid-1990s, and in virtually each of them, the negative effects of stereotype threat were reduced significantly or eliminated completely in some conditions of the study. Often this was achieved with seem- ingly very minor—but important—changes in the setting. m Table 5.3 lists a sam- ple of these ways.