Date of Award

12-1-2011

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Komarraju, Meera

Abstract

This study examined the role of autonomy support (AS) in the relationship between stereotype threat (ST) and performance on a subset of the Raven's Standard Progressive Matrices (RSPM) using a 2 x 2 factorial design. It was hypothesized that: 1. There would be significantly fewer correct answers in ST conditions compared to non-ST conditions, 2. There would be a significantly higher number of correct answers in AS conditions compared to non-AS conditions, 3.The relationship between ST conditions and performance would be moderated by AS conditions 206 African American college students from a mid-sized Midwestern university participated in the study. Performance, measured by the overall number of correct items answered from a set of 14 problems from the RSPM and also difficult and easy subsets of these problems, was the dependent variable and participants also completed a survey. Participants in ST conditions performed better than those in non-ST conditions. There was no difference in performance for participants in AS and non-AS conditions. High academic identified participants in AS conditions performed significantly better than similar participants in non-AS conditions on all items. Low academic identified participants in ST conditions performed better than those in non-ST conditions, only on easy items. These results provide information on the role of AS and item difficulty in stereotype threat situations.

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