Previous evidence shows that stereotype threat impairs complex motor skills through increased conscious monitoring of task performance. Given that one-step motor skills may not be susceptible to these processes, we examined whether performance on a simple strength task may be reduced under stereotype threat. Forty females and males performed maximum voluntary contractions under stereotypical or nullified-stereotype conditions. Results showed that the velocity of force production within the first milliseconds of the contraction decreased in females when the negative stereotype was induced, whereas maximal force did not change. In males, the stereotype induction only increased maximal force. These findings suggest that stereotype threat may impair motor skills in the absence of explicit monitoring processes, by influencing the planning stage of force production.
Aïna Chalabaev is with the Department of Kinesiology, Paris West University Nanterre La Défense, Nanterre, and with the Department of Kinesiology, University of Nice Sophia-Antipolis, Nice, France. Jeanick Brisswalter, Rémi Radel, Christopher Easthope, and Corentin Clément-Guillotin are with the Department of Kinesiology, University of Nice Sophia-Antipolis, Nice, France. Stephen A. Coombes is with the Department of Kinesiology, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL.