Knowing that stereotype threat interferes with difficult cognitive tasks by consuming working memory leads us to ask what precise processes are responsible for this effect. Why might marking one's race on a test booklet (Steele & Aronson, 1995
), taking a math exam in a room of men (Inzlicht & Ben-Zeev, 2000
; Sekaquaptewa & Thompson, 2003
), or speaking about racial issues (Richeson & Shelton, 2003
) lead Black students, women, and Whites, respectively, to experience impairments in attention regulation processes? We propose that these effects are produced by an interrelated set of cognitive, physiological, and affective processes (see ). We describe each of these processes and the evidence to support them in more detail below.
Physiological Stress Response
Before discussing how stress impacts attentional resources such as working memory, we first review the evidence that situations of stereotype threat are, in fact, stressful. Theoretically, the cognitive imbalance that results when stigmatized individuals are placed under stereotype threat should lead to increased arousal, distress, or discomfort that motivates a need for cognitive consistency. For example, studies have shown that individuals who experience other forms of self-inconsistency, such as cognitive dissonance, report a greater sense of discomfort (Elliot & Devine, 1994
) and show increased activation of the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) as indicated by increased heart rate (Etgen & Rosen, 1993
) and skin conductance (Harmon-Jones, Brehm, Greenberg, Simon, & Nelson, 1996
; Losch & Cacioppo, 1990
). Thus, we might expect that as individuals find themselves in situations of stereotype threat, attempts to reconcile the imbalance between self, group, and domain associations may in and of itself be distressing.
Although attempts to document stress under stereotype threat using self-report measures have yielded mixed results (Gonzales et al., 2002
; Schmader, 2002
; Schmader & Johns, 2003
; S. J. Spencer et al., 1999
), studies relying on physiological and other indirect measures of stress-based arousal (Ben-Zeev et al., 2005
; O'Brien & Crandall, 2003
) have yielded more promising support for Path b
in . For example, Murphy, Steele, and Gross (2007)
recently observed greater SNS activation among women merely watching a gender-imbalanced group of male and female college students discuss a math and science conference. Similarly, Blascovich, Spencer, Quinn, and Steele (2001)
showed that Black, but not White, students experience increased blood pressure while performing a test described as diagnostic of intellectual ability. Similarly, White Americans, who are likely to feel threatened by the stereotype that Whites are racist, exhibit a physiological threat profile of cardiovascular responses (increased cardiac output combined with increases in total peripheral resistance) when interacting with a Black male (compared with a White male; Mendes, Blascovich, Lickel, & Hunter, 2002
). Whites also perform more poorly on a verbal task in this condition. Although these studies have not shown a direct link between increases in cardiovascular threat reactivity and poorer cognitive performance, they have provided general evidence that individuals in situations of stereotype threat experience stress-induced physiological arousal.
However, a complete understanding of how stereotype threat impairs attentional resources requires a nuanced account of arousal. Specifically, the physiological processes elicited under situations of acute stress—of which stereotype threat is one kind—are likely to include activation of both the sympathetic-adrenal-medullary system and the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis that reflect an increase in SNS activation (as seen in the studies reviewed above) and the release of corticosteroids and catecholamines as part of an integrated stress response (Schommer, Hellhammer, & Kirschbaum, 2003
). Although these stress reactions serve the function of orienting the individual to the demands of a taxing situation, they might also impair cognitive performance (Eysenck & Calvo, 1992
). Moreover, stress could have its biggest impact on cognitive processes that rely on the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex due to the high concentration of receptors in these regions sensitive to cortisol (Blair, 2006
; Metcalfe & Jacobs, 1998
). This would explain why stress can specifically impair processes such as memory consolidation and spatial memory that are mediated by the hippocampus (e.g., J. D. Payne, Nadel, Allen, Thomas, & Jacobs, 2002
; Revelle & Loftus, 1990
) and tasks involving executive function, attentional focus, and working memory that are mediated by the prefrontal cortex (e.g., Baumeister, Twenge, & Nuss, 2002
; Pruessner, Hellhammer, & Kirschbaum, 1999
). Such evidence has implications for the types of tasks on which stereotype threat effects might be most pronounced.
In addition, research on stress and cognition more generally shows evidence for the role of stress-induced cortisol levels in these cognitive impairments (e.g., Bohnen, Houx, & Nicholson, 1990
; Kirschbaum, Wolf, May, & Wippich, 1996
), particularly in prefrontal processes such as working memory (Elzinga & Roelofs, 2005
). Thus, in addition to research showing a correlation between chronic stress and less efficient working memory (Klein & Boals, 2001
), this research suggests that acute social stressors elevate cortisol levels, which might directly reduce the efficiency of executive processes. Interestingly, the effects of cortisol on general arousal, selective attention, and memory form an inverted-U shape where some level of cortisol facilitates focused attention and resulting memory, but extreme levels impair these same processes (Lupien & McEwen, 1997
), particularly when paired with high levels of SNS activation (Elzinga & Roelofs, 2005
). This would explain why some studies find improved performance on selective attention tasks in high-pressure performance situations (Chajut & Algom, 2003
; Ellenbogen, Schwartzman, Stewart, & Walker, 2002
), while others show impairment on similar types of tasks that include greater cognitive load (Bernstein-Bercovitz, 2003
; Vedhara, Hyde, Gilchrist, Tytherleigh, & Plummer, 2000
The above findings suggest that performance should be most impaired when stress levels are more extreme and the task requires more complex cognitive processing. When tasks are easy and do not require sustained attention provided by working memory, increased arousal elicited under stress can provide a boost in performance. However, as tasks become complex, perhaps even contributing to one's overall level of arousal, stress-induced arousal has the potential to directly impair performance via its impact on specific executive processes such as working memory (e.g., Blair, 2006
). These observed patterns in the general stress and attention literature parallel the finding that stereotype threat manipulations have their largest effects when the task is complex (O'Brien & Crandall, 2003
; Quinn & Spencer, 2001
Furthermore, cortisol increases are highest in situations where one fears being negatively evaluated during a task on which individuals are motivated to do well (Dickerson & Kemeny, 2004
). Thus, it seems likely that individuals who experience stereotype threat will show increased levels of cortisol in addition to other increases in sympathetic activity. Although there have been no studies that link increased cortisol reactivity to lower performance in a stereotype threat context, there has been some research suggesting a relationship between cortisol reactivity and social identity threat more generally (Matheson & Cole, 2004
). In this research, individuals who were presented with a threat to their social identity (a suggestion that students at their university are less competent) showed increased levels of cortisol to the degree that they had an emotion-focused coping style, and they exhibited lower levels of cortisol to the degree that they had a problem-focused coping style. This evidence indicates that cortisol is likely to be increased even in experimental inductions of stereotype threat. Furthermore, the interactive effects of coping style suggest that people's appraisals of, or response to, the situation also play a role in modulating their physiological stress response. For this reason we represent Path g
in as a reciprocal pathway where stress can elicit appraisal processes but appraisal processes could also modulate the stress response.
When pairing this evidence of cortisol reactivity in response to social identity threat with evidence that injections of cortisol directly impair cognitive functioning (Kirschbaum et al., 1996
), it is clear that a physiological stress response could play a direct role in impairing task performance under stereotype threat (Path c
in ). More research is needed to examine whether this specific hypothesis holds both in naturalistic situations of stereotype threat where the real-world implications of performance have greater power to produce a strong physiological stress response and in short-term laboratory contexts where the stakes are often lower.
Monitoring the Self-Relevance of Performance
As specified earlier, we conceive of stereotype threat as a primed state of imbalance among concepts of self, group, and domain. In addition to eliciting an acute physiological stress response, this state of imbalanced self-perception also elicits vigilance to performance cues, internal states, and social feedback in an effort to disambiguate the uncertainty aroused by stereotype threat. Disambiguating that experience can be accomplished by attending to information that will change the links summarized in to create a more balanced state.
For example, if one's preexisting identification with the domain is very strong (e.g., a stable positive link between self and domain), individuals might search for cues that allow them to restore balance by reversing the link between self and group. Indeed, research has shown that Blacks and math-identified women under threat distance themselves from activities, interests, and attributes commonly associated with members of their group (Pronin, Steele, & Ross, 2004
; Steele & Aronson, 1995
). Furthermore, some individuals might be able to restore balance if information in the situation suggests that the link between the group and the domain is positive. For example, stereotype threat effects can be eliminated if people are provided with positive or stereotype-inconsistent exemplars of their group (Marx & Roman, 2002
; McIntyre, Paulson, & Lord, 2003
). Thus, situations that contain these cues hand targets the tools they need to restore balance in a way that preserves the positive link between self and domain. However, in the prototypical situation of stereotype threat, the negative link between self and domain that is suggested by stereotype threat, in combination with the motivation to disconfirm the stereotype, translates into a strong motivation to avoid failure. As a result, targets focus attention on themselves and their performance, becoming more vigilant to detect signs of failure. Although others have suggested that avoidance motivation is a key element of stereotype threat (e.g., J. L. Smith, 2004
), here we extend these ideas to outline the cognitive mechanisms that might explain why this particular motivation can disrupt performance.
Becoming more conscious of the self and one's performance
One aspect of the motivation to avoid failure under stereotype threat is that it switches people from a more automated state of functioning into a more conscious and controlled state of monitoring the self within the situation. Adopting a more conscious and controlled processing strategy is designed to resolve the discrepancy represented in the triad of primed constructs. In some respects, this reaction is similar to that seen in any high-pressure performance situation where attention is more likely to be focused on oneself (Baumeister, 1984
; Lewis & Linder, 1997
). However, situations of stereotype threat are unique because the concern with one's performance stems from one's association with a negatively stereotyped group. Put another way, the person under threat finds him- or herself confronting two alternative hypotheses about his or her performance: “Will I do well, consistent with my personal link to the domain?” or “Will I do poorly, consistent with the negative link to the domain suggested by the stereotype?” Although these alternatives are unlikely to be consciously considered, the primed state of cognitive imbalance manifests phenomenologically as a more conscious focus on the self and one's performance. As a result, behavior that might have been enacted efficiently is now attended to more consciously in an effort to test these alternative outcomes against available cues.
In line with this logic, Seibt and Förster (2004)
showed in a series of experiments that individuals under stereotype threat become more focused on avoiding failure, leading to more cautious and systematic performance, as opposed to the eager and creative performance seen by those who are positively stereotyped. In addition, Beilock et al. (2007)
recently found that women under stereotype threat about their math abilities reported worrying more about and monitoring their performance. Beilock et al. suggested that such thoughts contribute to the effect of stereotype threat because working memory becomes loaded with distracting information that competes for attentional resources.
Increased vigilance to threat- and failure-related cues
The second aspect of this monitoring process is that, because individuals feel cognitive conflict between an imbalanced set of cognitions, they then become more vigilant to internal or external cues that might help disambiguate this conflict. It has been well documented that when an individual experiences visceral arousal engendered by an environmental threat, systems are brought online to focus attention on the perceived threat (Davis & Whalen, 2001
). For example, recent studies using an emotional Stroop or dot-probe task showed that anxious individuals are more likely to be vigilant to anxiety-related stimuli (MacLeod & Mathews, 1988
; Williams, Mathews, & MacLeod, 1996
). Although this past research suggested that such attentional shifts to threat stimuli happen automatically, such automatic vigilance to task irrelevant cues has the potential to harm performance on complex tasks that depend heavily on working memory efficiency to maintain focus on the task at hand (e.g., Conway, Cowan, & Bunting, 2001
). Moreover, if situations of stereotype threat are episodes of acute stress, it follows that targets of threat might also show similar signs of vigilance to threat-related cues, particularly those that are highly self-relevant. For example, women anticipating working with a sexist man become more vigilant to identifying sexism-related cues in their environment (Kaiser, Vick, & Major, 2006
), and cues to minority status in a stereotyped domain increase women's vigilance to domain-relevant items in their physical environment (Murphy et al., 2007
However, in active performance situations, stereotyped targets are likely to be monitoring not only for signs of threat but also for cues that might offer evidence for how one is coping with that situation. The question to be answered is whether one is in fact behaving in a stereotype-consistent way. This means that the monitoring process, informed by the motivation to avoid failure, will be more biased to detect any signs of failure at the task. For example, Amodio et al. (2004)
have found that when White Americans perform a task that will reveal their racial biases, their bias-consistent errors on the task activate neural regions critical for monitoring responses that conflict with goals. Importantly, the level of activation to errors consistent with racial bias is greater than that observed to errors that are not indicative of bias. Thus, White Americans become more vigilant to internal signs of bias in situations where they are aware that such biases could be revealed. As is discussed more below, this vigilance is likely to be a necessary first step in controlling those biases that conflict with impression-management goals (Amodio, Kubota, Harmon-Jones, & Devine, 2006
The above example focuses on situations of stereotype threat that involve some real or imagined social interaction; however, vigilance processes can also play a role in the academic testing contexts when individuals become vigilant to external feedback that might indicate that one is performing poorly and confirming the stereotype. To test this idea, we used the same event-related potential (ERP) methodology employed by Amodio et al. (2004)
to examine stereotype threat effects on minority students' tendency to be vigilant to task errors (Forbes et al., 2007
). Black and Latino college students completed a rather basic response-conflict task (i.e., a flankers task) described as diagnostic of intelligence or as a neutral pattern recognition task. While they completed the task, ERPs were recorded from scalp regions located above the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex, a region of the brain involved in monitoring behavior that conflicts with goals. Previous research showed that when individuals make errors on this type of task, their ERP waveforms contain a negative deflection approximately 30-180 ms after the response that is not present on correct responses (Gehring, Goss, Coles, Meyer, & Donchin, 1993
). This error-related negativity (ERN) pattern is indicative of a performance-monitoring process sensitive to behaviors or outcomes that conflict with current goal states. Results from Forbes et al. (2007)
revealed that academically identified minority students showed larger ERN amplitudes when the task was described as an intelligence test compared with a more neutral test frame. In other words, these engaged students under stereotype threat showed neural activity indicative of increased vigilance to their errors on the task.
However, in addition to monitoring the situation for actual signs of failure, individuals under threat might also become more vigilant toward their internal states that could aid in drawing inferences about how one is coping. For example, women anticipating a difficult math test show increased attention toward anxiety-related words, suggesting an increased vigilance for cues to their own level of anxiety (Johns, Inzlicht, & Schmader, 2007
). Moreover, a recent functional imaging study showed that women in a stereotype threat condition exhibited greater activation in the ventral anterior cingulate cortex, a region that has been implicated in detecting and processing emotionally relevant information (Krendl, Richeson, Kelley, & Heatherton, in press
). Furthermore, studies have shown that threat-induced performance decrements can be reduced by providing individuals with an external explanation for arousal experienced under stereotype threat (Ben-Zeev et al., 2005
; Johns, Schmader, & Martens, 2005
; Stone et al., 1999
). These same reappraisals have no effect on those who are not targeted by stereotype threat, suggesting that it is only those susceptible to threat who are prone to monitor their internal states and seek an explanation for them. Together, these findings indicate that awareness of one's anxious feelings and thoughts could signal that one is performing poorly on a test just as awareness of biased reactions might be an important self-relevant cue to the person facing the threat of being seen as racist.
How do monitoring processes tax working memory?
The process of monitoring performance for self-relevant information is likely to rely on the same working memory resources necessary to do the task efficiently. As working memory is often defined in terms of controlled processing (Kane et al., 2007
; Miyake & Shah, 1999
), any activity that involves consciously attending to the self as a performer of that task will rely on this central executive resource (e.g., Beilock et al., 2006
). With respect to the vigilance aspect of this process, even basic research on sustained attention suggests that remaining vigilant to cues in the immediate environment is an effortful cognitive process (Grier et al., 2003
). We might also expect that monitoring emotionally arousing cues is particularly taxing to working memory (Dolcos & McCarthy, 2006
). However, we make the point not just that individuals are vigilant to threatening cues but that their vigilance is designed to reconcile two competing cognitions in the form of a negative link between self and domain or a positive link between self and domain. Unfortunately, such resolutions are likely to come at some cost to executive resources.
For example, E. R. Smith and Henry's (1996)
demonstration that individuals are slower to make judgments about themselves on traits for which they and their social group differ suggests that stereotypic knowledge about one's ingroup that conflicts with self-knowledge requires additional processing. Similarly, reaction time measures such as the implicit association test that are used to measure the cognitive association between one's self-conceptions and one's group conceptions are based on an assumption that inconsistencies between these two concepts will slow processing speed (e.g., Nosek et al., 2002
). In other words, longer response latencies when a set of imbalanced cognitions are simultaneously activated clearly reflect the difficulty of attentional switching between inconsistent cognitions.
The process of engaging in heightened vigilance and attentional switching alone could account for impairments in working memory. However, as we discuss in the next section, the combination of cues that are gleaned from this monitoring process and how they are interpreted could engage coping efforts that might also be resource demanding.
Thought-Suppression Processes Tax Working Memory Resources
A third mechanism contributing to cognitive inefficiency under stereotype threat includes suppression processes aimed at actively regulating negative thoughts and feelings. Before turning to those suppression processes, we consider the origin of the threatening thoughts and feelings that individuals are motivated to suppress. We suggest that stereotype threat elicits appraisal processes engaged to help an individual make sense of the cues that are detected. Moreover, the cues that feed into the appraisal process stem from the primed state of cognitive imbalance (Path f
in ), the heightened state of stress (Path g
in ), and the monitoring system (Path h
in ). Because threatened targets' focus of attention might be particularly drawn toward negative emotional stimuli and signs of failure (Forbes et al., 2007
), we reason that negative thoughts and feelings will often be the outcome of these appraisal processes.1
The above line of reasoning suggests that stigmatized and non-stigmatized individuals would have different phenomenological experiences during a performance situation. Those who benefit from positive stereotypes might feel challenged, confident, and exhilarated, whereas those who bear the burden of negative stereotypes might experience self-doubt and feelings of anxiety. Indeed, stereotype threat has been shown to activate thoughts of self-doubt (Steele & Aronson, 1995
), negative expectancies (Stangor, Carr, & Kiang, 1998
), feelings of dejection (Keller & Dauenheimer, 2003
; Marx & Stapel, 2006b
), and task-related worries (Beilock et al., 2007
). Similarly, Cadinu, Maass, Rosabianca, and Kiesner (2005)
showed that women taking a difficult math test reported having more negative thoughts under stereotype threat. Moreover, the number of negative thoughts they had during the first half of the test mediated the effect of stereotype threat on lower performance during the second half of the test.
While the above research suggests that stereotype threatened targets do experience more negative thoughts and feelings, it must be mentioned that studies have not always been so successful at detecting these phenomenological experiences when using standard self-report measures (see Wheeler & Petty, 2001
, for a review). However, studies that have used less conscious indicators of anxiety have been more revealing. For example, Bosson et al. (2004)
found that homosexual men under stereotype threat exhibited more nonverbal anxiety than did heterosexual or nonthreatened homosexual men when asked to interact with preschool children. However, these same men did not explicitly report feeling more anxious.
Given this evidence that stereotype threat makes individuals anxious, why do they not report this feeling on a questionnaire? One possible reason for the mixed results on self-reported anxiety measures is that in addition to trying to do well at the performance situation, targets of negative stereotypes are also engaged in efforts to regulate unwanted thoughts and emotions that result from the experience of threat, perhaps as part of a more general tendency to deny the experience of threat (von Hippel et al., 2005
). Thus, the negative phenomenological experience that results from the appraisal process should elicit attempts to regulate these stressful experiences (Path i
In addition, people have an intuitive belief that feeling anxious during a performance task or social interaction can interfere with the goal of doing well (T. W. Smith, Snyder, & Handeslman, 1982
). Imagine the student giving a speech who loses her train of thought because she is consciously trying to not feel anxious in front of an audience. Because she is trying to suppress or even deny that she is anxious, when asked on a questionnaire, she may not freely admit (even to herself) the anxiety she is feeling. However, indirect measures such as non-verbal behavior or subtle shifts in attention can reveal those anxious feelings.
The problem with this sort of coping strategy is that such acts of emotional suppression and thought suppression more generally are effortful and therefore present another pathway by which stereotype threat impairs working memory (Path j
in ). Evidence for the depleting effects of emotion regulation comes from various sources. First, it is generally assumed that suppressing unwanted thoughts from consciousness is an effortful and resource-depleting process (e.g., Muraven & Baumeister, 2000
; Wenzlaff & Wegner, 2000
). Furthermore, recent neuroimaging evidence supports the role of the prefrontal cortex in thought suppression over a sustained period of time (Mitchell et al., 2007
). More specific to emotional suppression, efforts to regulate emotional responses have been found to tax cognitive resources (e.g., Gross, 2002
; Richards & Gross, 2000
; Schmeichel, 2007
) and have the ironic effect of increasing accessibility of anxiety-related thoughts (Wegner, Erber, & Zanakos, 1993
). Thus, if working memory is used to suppress irrelevant information (Rosen & Engle, 1998
), the same cognitive process needed for successful performance might be hijacked under stereotype threat for the purpose of regulating one's emotions. Even if the physiological stress-arousal mechanism or increased vigilance described previously does not affect working memory directly, self-regulation is still another process by which performance on difficult cognitive tasks could be impaired in situations of stereotype threat.
There is emerging research showing that targets under threat try to suppress negative thoughts. For example, S. Spencer (2003)
reported that adding further cognitive load to women who are already experiencing stereotype threat leads to a heightened activation of stereotype-related constructs, supporting the notion that the load interferes with their attempts to suppress this information. Research has also shown that instructing women to replace stereotypic thoughts during the test with less threatening thoughts eliminates the negative effects of stereotype threat on performance (McGlone & Aronson, 2007
). We suspect that individuals under threat might not always have negative stereotypes consciously brought to mind, particularly when cues to threat are subtle. However, individuals are likely to be conscious of the anxiety and discomfort that are the outcomes of the monitoring processes described above. If active regulation of thoughts and feelings requires some degree of conscious awareness of those thoughts or feelings, then targets might more commonly attempt to regulate and push out of mind their own feelings of anxiety or self-doubt rather than more abstract negative stereotypes about their group.
We have recently obtained additional evidence that individuals under stereotype threat attempt to regulate their feelings of anxiety during a performance situation and that these attempts at self-regulation predict lower working memory. Earlier, we described a study using a dot-probe task that allowed us to measure attention being directed toward threat-related stimuli (Johns et al., 2007
). In one condition, women under stereotype threat showed evidence that their attention was directed toward threat-related words, indicating that they were anxious in the situation. We included a second condition where we described how the dot-probe task measures anxiety. Our reasoning was that if women know that this task is a measure of anxiety and they know how the task works (that anxious individuals would tend to look toward anxiety-related words), then a motivation to regulate one's anxiety would be evidenced by women trying to look away from the anxiety-related words. This tendency would be revealed in the time it takes them to identify a dot that appears in the same position as, or opposite position from, the target word. The findings suggest that women under stereotype threat attempt to suppress the expression of anxiety when they know that their anxiety is being assessed. Moreover, the more participants engage in this suppression pattern, the more their working memory decreases on a subsequent task.
Other evidence for the role of emotion regulation in reducing processing efficiency under stereotype threat comes from a recent functional imaging study of women performing a mental rotation task under conditions designed to create stereotype threat (by emphasizing men's superior spatial skills) or stereotype lift (by emphasizing women's superior perspective-taking skills) compared with control (Wraga, Helt, Jacobs, & Sullivan, 2007
). Results from that study revealed greater activation in the right orbital gyrus during threat compared with control that correlated with a greater number of errors made on the task in this condition. Given that the orbital gyrus has been implicated in the regulation of negative self-conscious emotions such as shame (Beer, Heerey, Keltner, Scabini, & Knight, 2003
), this pattern of results adds support to our assertions that stereotype threat increases negative thoughts and feelings about the self that individuals are motivated to control.
If emotion regulation does underlie some of the cognitive deficits seen in situations of threat, then manipulations designed to redirect appraisal processes or prevent emotion-focused coping should eliminate stereotype threat performance deficits. Indeed, giving targets an external attribution for heightened arousal is one way to deflect stereotype threat effects on performance (Ben-Zeev et al., 2005
). This finding suggests that it is because arousal gets interpreted as indicative of anxiety that individuals try to engage in self-regulatory processes in the first place. In addition, telling participants that anxiety does not harm test performance eliminates stereotype-induced reductions in working memory, presumably because such a reappraisal of anxiety eliminates the need to regulate emotion (Johns et al., 2007
To summarize, our process model of stereotype threat argues that when individuals find themselves having to perform complex tasks, cues that activate negative self-relevant stereotypes set in motion a series of processes including a physiological stress response, monitoring of the performance situation for self-relevant information, and efforts to suppress negative thoughts and feelings that result from the previous two processes. Each of these mechanisms can impair the same executive resources (i.e., working memory) necessary for successful performance on many (but not all) of the types of tasks that have been studied in the stereotype threat literature.