Date of Completion


Embargo Period



Diane M. Quinn, Felicia Pratto, Stephanie Milan

Field of Study

Psychological Sciences


Master of Science

Open Access

Open Access


Research demonstrates that members of stigmatized groups may underperform when stereotype threat is induced. No research, however, has examined whether attributing underperformance to stereotype threat is perceived as a likely or valid explanation. In two experiments White students were randomly assigned to review the test performance of a fellow student described as a racial/ethnic minority (stigmatized group) or White (non-stigmatized group). Experiment 1 revealed that Hispanic and Black students were significantly more likely to have their underperformance attributed to dispositional and stereotypic causes than a White student. Experiment 2 revealed that White students perceived attributing underperformance to stereotype threat as a less valid explanation of underperformance compared to test anxiety. Moreover, all situational attributions for underperformance were perceived as less valid when provided by a Hispanic rather than White student. These findings suggest that majority students who are less vulnerable to stereotype threat do not detect it in others and are generally incredulous of its adverse effects.

Major Advisor

Diane M. Quinn