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Power of Suggestion, Part 2. Presented by: Kathryn Lawrence Discussing: Beilock et al., 2007, Goldin -Meadow et al., 2001 Psychology 1306, November 25, 2008. Stereotype Threat. Women and math tests African Americans and intelligence tests

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power of suggestion part 2

Power of Suggestion, Part 2

Presented by: Kathryn Lawrence

Discussing: Beilock et al., 2007, Goldin-Meadow et al., 2001

Psychology 1306, November 25, 2008

stereotype threat
Stereotype Threat
  • Women and math tests
  • African Americans and intelligence tests
  • Whites and athletic tests (unrelated to athletic intelligence)
  • Women and leadership roles (Prasad, 2007)
  • Power of suggestion without stereotype
  • Very applicable and relevant to real world
  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tjn6ZSU_zS0
many examples of stereotype threat but what is causing it beilock et al 2007
Many examples of stereotype threat—But what is causing it? (Beilock et al., 2007)
  • *Working memory*
    • Reduced capacity after women and Latinos are primed with negative intelligence stereotypes
    • Mediates poorer performance when primed women complete math test
  • Multi-component model of working memory
    • 1. A limited-capacity central executive
    • 2. A phonological loop for storing verbal information
    • 3. A visual-spatial sketchpad for storing visual images
    • 4. A multi-modal episodic buffer for creating a unitary representation
  • Math makes specific demands on the various resources (domain-specific to some extent)
  • Does worrying make demands on the central executive or the phonological loop (a.k.a. a verbal worry)?
beilock et al s various experiments
Beilock et al.’s Various experiments
  • #1 Do women experience stereotype threat when primed with gender stereotypes?
  • #2 Which types of math problems depend most strongly on verbal resources? (horizontal)
  • #3 Does stereotype threat most negatively affect verbally dependent problems?
  • #4 Is it possible to alleviate the effects of stereotype threat?
  • #5 Does stereotype threat only affect stereotype-relevant tasks?
the modular arithmetic ma problems
The Modular arithmetic (MA) problems
  • 3 numbers. Subtract the second from the first. Then divide by the third. Then decide if it is a whole number. Respond with two characters on keypad.
  • Must be answered correctly 75% of the time , True/False correlates, Counterbalanced

Keep in context when looking at effects—Not that hard!!

experiment 1
Experiment 1
  • Women who at least moderately care about math
  • All horizontal MA problems, High demand vs. low demand
  • Stereotype threat vs. none
  • “Only MA problems heavily dependent on working memory (i.e., horizontal high demand problems) failed under stereotype threat, suggesting that stereotype threat exerts its impact by co-opting working memory resources needed for the successful execution of such problems.”
experiment 2 do phonological tasks most negatively affect horizontal math problems
Experiment 2 – Do phonological tasks most negatively affect horizontal math problems?
  • 32 questions, ½[Low demand, High demand], ½[Horizontal, vertical]
  • Repeat with phonological secondary task
    • (gib, lec, nup)
    • Have you seen geb?
  • No difference in response time or MA accuracy, difference in Secondary Task accuracy
  • “Adding a phonological memory load to MA execution led to performance decrements (primarily reflected in a decrease in secondary task accuracy) only when the MA problems being performed were high in working memory demands and presented in a horizontal orientation. Because participants were instructed to perform both the MA and the phonological secondary tasks equally well, errors in either task are evidence of disruption in working memory.”

 Horizontal math is more verbally demanding.

experiment 3a does stereotype threat differentially affect horizontal vs vertical math problems
Experiment 3A – Does stereotype threat differentially affect horizontal vs. vertical math problems?
  • Between subjects—2 groups[horizontal, vertical]
  • (1) Baseline, (2) Stereotype threat block
  • “Given that Experiment 2 and previous research has shown that arithmetic problems presented in a horizontal format rely more on verbal resources than do vertically presented problems, this finding suggests that stereotype threat harms MA performance by co-opting the phonological resources that horizontal problems also use.”

All participants had worries.

Effect seen: Horizontal (using verbal), High Demand

Exp 3B:

This effect is only seen when Stereotype Threat is included.

verbal thought questionnaire experiment 3a vs 3b
Verbal Thought Questionnaire (Experiment 3A vs. 3B)
  • Categories of response
    • Worries about the task or thoughts confirming the stereotype threat manipulation
    • Thoughts regarding monitoring performance and its consequences
    • Thoughts related to carrying out the steps involved in the math problems
    • Unrelated thoughts
  • No difference between vertical, horizontal (# or break-down)

Statistically controlling for the worries eliminated differences in math task performance under threat.  Casual role of verbal thoughts and worries

(Not a self-fulfilling prophecy, rather these thoughts use valuable resources)

main conclusions
Main conclusions
  • Stereotype threat caused individuals to worry about their performance and its consequences.
  • This harms math problems most reliant on verbal working memory resources.
    • Spatial effect complication. (Some more general effect?)
  • BUT Exp 4: Training can make effects less working memory-dependent. This improves performance.
    • Practice makes perfect! (And robust!)
    • Can’t practice everything but still applicable
so why do we care
So why do we care?
  • Worrying is a verbal activity!! (?)
      • If there are “0thinking for speaking” effects, might they extend to include such things? (a.k.a. Must verbalize here too, not just when speaking?)
      • Patterns of worrying affecting our habitual language use—associating “I” with “dumb,” “mouse” with “scary” on a linguistic level not just a feeling level (like Germans associate “die Bruecke (fem)” with femininity)
  • Using language (more or less) as we process mathematical questions
      • Relation to e.g. Pirahã
      • Are speakers of languages with more systematic or syllabically shorter numbers better at math?
  • Verbalization has a domain-specific part of working memory—What implications does this have?
  • Huge applications for education, fairness, worrying, etc.
    • Can the effect be overcome? How far does it extend (Exp #5)?
    • Does this suggest that worrying in general contributes to lowered performance (anxiety disorders, etc)?
experiment 5 is this effect restricted to the stereotype relevant area
Experiment #5—Is this effect restricted to the stereotype-relevant area?
  • No!
  • Equally difficult 2-back tasks—Verbal (phonological loop), Spatial (visual spatial sketchpad)
  • Stereotype threat, MA test, then 2-back test

“Regardless of whether performance was defined as accuracy, latency, or a composite of the two, those who performed worse on the MA task under stereotype threat performed more poorly on the subsequent verbal two-back task.”

explaining math gesturing lightens the load goldin meadow et al 2001
Explaining Math: Gesturing Lightens the LoadGoldin-Meadow et al., 2001
  • What is the purpose of gesturing?
    • No meaningful purpose
    • Conveying meaningful information
    • Subtly influencing perception of communication
    • Lightening cognitive load of speaking??
  • Main question: Does gesturing increase cognitive load while speaking (requiring motor planning, coordination, etc) or reduce cognitive load?
an example
An Example

X2-5x+6 = ( )( )


How did you just do that math problem?

X2-5x+6 = ( )( )

[Do or Don’t Gesture]

the experiment
The Experiment
  • Children
    • Simpler math: 4 + 5 + 3 = __ + 3
    • Common words instead of letters
  • Gesturing allowed vs. not allowed (to determine effect of gesture)
  • Long list vs. short list (to alter cognitive load)
gesturing helps
Gesturing helps!
  • Even when considering
    • Math ability
    • Time taken to answer (With gesture, takes less time  less time to forget?)
    • Trying to not gesture being a cognitive load
the cognitive load of not gesturing does not drive the results
The cognitive load of not gesturing does not drive the results.
  • Can test because some people voluntarily did not gesture 
  • Gesturing enriches the way information is encoded and processed (by allowing visuospatial + verbal) and therefore reduces necessary effort?
  • A synergistic system?
    • Should we gesture as much as possible?
    • Areas that are decidedly verbal and learning to transfer to more spatial representation could enhance our overall abilities?
  • Implications for sign language?
  • How do we reconcile with other study?
    • Two systems do seem to be relatively distinct.
    • When verbal memory is less taxed, it performs better.
    • Do easier languages improve our capability? Languages that are syllabically short? Languages that represent as much as possible? Languages that force spatial representation by not having words?