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Interaction of task difficulty and gender stereotype threat with a spatial orientation task in a virtual nested environment

Allison, Craig, Redhead, Edward and Chan, Wai (2017) Interaction of task difficulty and gender stereotype threat with a spatial orientation task in a virtual nested environment Learning and Motivation, 57, pp. 22-35.

Record type: Article


Two experiments examined the interaction of task difficulty and stereotype threat in a spatial orientation task. Having explored the exterior and interior of a virtual building, participants were placed in a room with an external or internal view and asked to face a previously seen but occluded external target cue. In the internal room participants could use spatial updating to track their position in terms of the target cue, and in the external room they could also use the allocentric spatial relationship between the target cue and a visible external cue. Participants performed better in the external room, illustrating spatial updating is more difficult than allocentric array learning. In Experiment 1, participants were informed that they were likely to perform better, worse or the same as members of the opposite sex. Overall males performed better than females, but males given the threat statement performed worst. There was no difference between female groups. Experiment 2a, reduced the difficulty of the task by including internal orienting cues. Females with the orientation cues performed better than females without orientation cues and the same as males. In Experiment 2b, with orientation cues present, there was a significant effect of stereotype threat for both males and females but only in the more difficult internal room trial. The results suggest gender stereotype threats affect spatial orientation but only at an appropriate level of task difficulty.

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Accepted/In Press date: 12 January 2017
e-pub ahead of print date: 30 January 2017
Published date: February 2017
Organisations: Faculty of Engineering and the Environment


Local EPrints ID: 405191
ISSN: 0023-9690
PURE UUID: 9434660d-51e5-4efe-8613-e2797f3745e9

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Date deposited: 30 Jan 2017 11:20
Last modified: 01 Nov 2017 03:56

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Author: Craig Allison
Author: Edward Redhead
Author: Wai Chan

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