Refocusing or recycling? The stereotype inoculation model and its relationship with research on ingroup role models

  • Marx D
  • Ko S
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Comments on an article by Nilanjana Dasgupta (see record 2011-28401-002). The model, as Dasgupta notes, "shows how ingroup members function as 'social vaccines' who inoculate and strengthen fellow group members' self-concept so that they become free to choose less traveled paths". What we appreciate about the stereotype inoculation model (SIM) is that it is part of a growing area of research that focuses on how ingroup role models disarm the negative effects of ability-based stereotypes. What we are less enthusiastic about are some of the premises underlying the SIM. First, we feel that it is an overstatement to claim that the SIM provides a "new theoretical lens". Second, the SIM presents ingroup peers and experts as two distinct situational factors that can increase women’s self-concept and sense of belonging in STEM, yet they appear to us as a single factor that falls along the gender continuum. Third, we struggled with the rather sweeping assumption that women with low self efficacy can still perform well. We would argue that this assumption holds only under specific conditions. In what follows we elaborate on each of these points. In sum, there is great utility in highlighting role models within STEM settings, such as classrooms and universities, because role models have the potential to make all students’ associations with STEM more positive. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)

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  • David M. Marx

  • Sei Jin Ko

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