“Men are Better Than Women!” The Positive Effect of a Negative Stereotype Toward Women on a Self-Paced Cycling Exercise

in Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology
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Previous research on the stereotype threat phenomenon has shown that inducing a negative stereotype toward a group debilitates motor performance despite the increase in motivation. Most of the studies focused on tasks requiring technical skills. However, what happens when the task does not require technical skills but focuses on energy expenditure? To examine this question, 34 male and female participants were assigned to a negative stereotype toward women and a nullified-stereotype condition and performed 20 min of self-paced cycling exercise. The authors hypothesized better performances when participants were assigned to the negative stereotype toward women condition than when assigned to the nullified-stereotype condition. As predicted, men and women increased their performances, accompanied by increases in heart rate. Concerning women, this result provides support for the notion that the effect of inducing a negative stereotype is task dependent, but further research is needed to more deeply investigate the mechanisms involved.

The authors are with Laboratoire Motricité, Humaine, Expertise, Sport, Santé (LAMHESS), Université Côte d’Azur, Nice, France.

Deshayes (maxime.deshayes@gmx.fr) is corresponding author.
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