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The Mediating Role of Stereotype Threat and Achievement Goals in the Regulation of Scientific Motivation (2010-2014)


NSF# HRD-1331962

Project Personnel 

Eric Deemer, Ph.D.
Principal Investigator
Jessi L. Smith, Ph.D.
Co-Principal Investigator
Associate Professor
Department of Psychology
Montana State University
Dustin B. Thoman, Ph.D.
Key Consultant
Assistant Professor
Department of Psychology
California State University, Long Beach
Robert J. Vallerand, Ph.D.
Key Consultant
Department of Psychology
Université du Québec à Montréal
Richard F. Haase, Ph.D.
Key Consultant
Professor Emeritus
Department of Educational & Counseling Psychology
State University of New York at Albany
Julie T. Elworth, Ph.D.
Evaluation Consultant
Senior Associate
Evaluation & Research Associates



Project Overview 

There are myriad stereotypical beliefs that many people hold, one of which is the belief that women cannot perform as well as men in math and science. This belief can have a detrimental effect on women’s perceptions of competence and, ultimately, their performance. In some ways, then, decreases in the stereotyped group’s performance can actually lead to a confirmation and perpetuation of the stereotype. This phenomenon is referred to as stereotype threat. The purpose of this study is to examine how women’s experiences of their laboratory classroom environments may trigger stereotype threat and possibly result in maladaptive patterns of achievement motivation. Although the project was originally intended to run from 2010 to 2013, a no-cost extension has been granted by the NSF that will allow the project to run into 2014. The final wave of data collection will take place at Purdue University in the spring semester of 2014.
In addition to studying the focal variables mentioned above, we are also collecting exploratory data on variables such as academic satisfaction, career intentions, academic procrastination, and sexism. For instance, it is possible that women who are chronically exposed to negative gender stereotypes may become increasingly dissatisfied with their academic program, begin to engage in problematic procrastination, and ultimately decide to change majors.  



Smith, J. L., Brown, E. R., Thoman, D. B., & Deemer, E. D. (in press). Losing its expected communal value: How stereotype threat undermines women’s identity as research scientists. Social Psychology of Education.
Deemer, E. D., Lin, C., Graham, R., & Soto, C. (in press). Development and validation of a measure of threatening gender stereotypes in science: A factor mixture analysis. Journal of Career Assessment.
Deemer, E. D. (2015). Women’s science major satisfaction: Regulatory focus and the critical mass hypothesis. Journal of Career Development, 42, 60-71.
Smith, J. L., Deemer, E. D., Thoman, D. B., & Zazworsky, L. (2014). Motivation under the microscope: Understanding undergraduate science students’ multiple motivations for research. Motivation and Emotion, 38, 496-512.

Deemer, E. D., Smith, J. L., Thoman, D. B., & Chase, J. P. (2014). Precision in career motivation assessment: Testing the Subjective Science Attitude Change Measures. Journal of Career Assessment, 22, 489-504. 

Deemer, E. D., Thoman, D. B., Chase, J. P., & Smith, J. L. (2014). Feeling the threat: Stereotype threat as a contextual barrier to women’s science career choice intentions. Journal of Career Development, 41, 141-158.

Deemer, E. D., Smith, J. L., Carroll, A. N., & Carpenter, J. P. (2014). Academic procrastination in STEM: Interactive effects of stereotype threat and achievement goals. Career Development Quarterly, 62, 143-155.


  Lab Report