According to stereotype threat theory, the possibility of confirming a negative stereotype provokes feelings of threat, leading people to underperform on the very tasks on which they are stereotyped. This theory has immense theoretical and practical implications, but many studies supporting it suffer from small samples and varying operational definitions of stereotype threat. For the first problem, we propose to leverage the Psychological Science Accelerator’s vast network of US-based labs to recruit a large sample of African American students to participate in a test of stereotype threat theory. For the second problem, we propose to use an adaptive design to find, among four procedures each to increase and reduce stereotype threat, the comparison that provides the best evidence for an effect. By assessing the robustness of a socially and scientifically important theory with a rare population, this proposal will advance both psychological science and the Accelerator’s core mission.


The lead team is working on finishing up its revision for the Stage 1 Registered Report. Our editor at Nature Human Behaviour asked us to do some pilot testing of our technical implementation of the adaptive algorithm that governs condition assignment. With Erin Buchanan’s help, we implemented all aspects of the project in formr and conducted a variety of tests to ensure condition assignment changes as appropriate in light of different kinds of evidence. This whole effort went slower than expected due to the outbreak of the coronavirus, but we received an extension from our editor. We’ve also finished a first draft of our paper revisions and our response to reviewers. We expect to submit the revision within 1-2 weeks.