Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

M.A. in Psychology

First Advisor

Rebekah E. Smith

Second Advisor

Rebekah E. Smith

Third Advisor

Carrie V. Smith

Relational Format



Stereotype threat causes individuals to perform worse on tasks when they are made aware of a task-relevant negative stereotype for a group to which they belong. Prior research has demonstrated that this effect has been alleviated by using a number of methods including changing test context or bolstering the stereotyped group. One method of bolstering the threatened group is through a self-affirmation of preferred character traits. Nostalgia is a sentimental longing for the past, which has been shown to provide many benefits to an individual, both personally and socially. Research has shown that when told to recall a nostalgic memory, participants are said to have greater access to self-affirming characteristics. The present study was performed in an attempt to utilize nostalgic recollection to directly ameliorate the negative effects of stereotype threat. The study provided participants with a selection of gender identification using gendered images, followed by an instruction which was used as the stereotype threat elicitation. Participants were then randomly assigned to one of three memory conditions — nostalgic, ordinary, and none — and were asked to recall and describe the appropriate memory. Participants then completed a hard math test using 26 sample GRE items. Multiple hypotheses were not supported. Some significant results are described. Probable null contributors, implications, and future directions are explored.

Keywords: Stereotype threat, nostalgia, gender, self-affirmation


Experimental Psychology



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.