Am I graceful? The Effects of Subtle Stereotype Threat on a Performed Soccer Dribbling Task

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Rucker, Tyra
Maes, Ashley
Hoppes, Emma
Nylin, Emma
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Am I graceful? The Effects of Subtle Stereotype Threat on a Performed Soccer Dribbling Task
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The purpose of our study was to research how various descriptions of a famous athlete could influence sports performance in undergraduates. Specifically, words such as “graceful” compared to “strong” were used to describe famous soccer player, Alex Morgan. The current research evaluated whether females would be more likely to complete a soccer dribbling task if they were given a subtle stereotype prior to the task. Participants were randomly selected to read a summary of famous female athlete, Alex Morgan that described her performance as “graceful” or “strong”. Our research expected to find that women performed with the least amount of time and highest level of efficiency on an athletic task where a female soccer player is described as “strong.” 36 female students from Carroll College were recruited to participate between the ages of 18 and 23 years of age. Participants were of varying socioeconomic backgrounds and ethnicities. Results showed that individuals in the “graceful” condition (N=18) described Alex Morgan using marginally more stereotypical female terms compared to the “strong” condition (N=18). The current results suggest that media terminology may impact our perception of female athletes. Females were significantly more likely to describe Alex Morgan with stereotypical feminine language (e.g. beautiful) or neutral terms after exposure to the “graceful” article. Alternatively, females were more likely to describe Alex Morgan as athletic when exposed to the “strong” condition. In summary, results suggest that the adjectives participants viewed influenced their perception of Alex Morgan, but not necessarily soccer performance.
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