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Title: Sticks and stones may break my bones but can words hurt beneficiaries of affirmative action?
Author: Devaney , Lee P. G.
Awarding Body: Queen's University Belfast
Current Institution: Queen's University Belfast
Date of Award: 2013
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Four experiments investigated if beneficiaries of affirmative action experience stereotype threat and its negative consequences. Study one consisted of an experiment in which we simulated affirmative native action procedures. We found that affirmative action programs which do not ensure beneficiaries of their equality of merit and ability, can induce stereotype threat and its negative consequences. However we recognised that the previous affirmative action manipulations may not match the forms of Affirmative action utilized in Northern Ireland. Therefore study two used a more applicable "weak" preferential selection manipulation. We found that this found of affirmative action did not induce stereotype threat nor its negative consequences as these participants knew the stereotype of affirmative action was not true of themselves. However the stereotype threat hypothesis postulates that stereotype endorsement is not necessary to induce stereotype threat. Study three empirically tested this assumption. We manipulated both the presentation of a stereotype, and participants' personal endorsement of that stereotype. We found that the inducement of stereotype threat does not in fact require stereotype endorsement. This finding leads us to ask why affirmative action in study two did not induce stereotype threat. We hypothesised that these participants simply were not aware they were part of a stereotyped group. Therefore in study four we presented beneficiaries of weak preferential selection manipulations with the widespread stereotype surrounding affirmative action. We found that when beneficiaries of weak affirmative action procedures encounter the negative stereotype associated with affirmative action, stereotype threat is induced. The present research contributes to the previous literature by moving the argument on from the forms of affirmative action used, to how public discourses and presentations of affirmative action may be the true cause for concern. Moreover this thesis also contributes to the stereotype threat literature by empirically that stereotype threat does not depend on stereotype endorsement.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available