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Original Research ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Psychol. | doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.01963

You Don’t Bend It Like Beckham if You’re Female and Reminded of It: Stereotype Threat among Female Football Players

 Hilmar Grabow1* and Melanie Kühl1
  • 1University of Kiel, Germany

Originally, the stereotype threat effect – poorer performance due to a fear of fulfilling a negative stereotype about one’s group – was demonstrated for cognitive tasks (e. g. Steele & Aronson, 1995, or Steele, 1997). Drawing on the widespread stereotype of women being unable to play football we experimentally tested (N = 80) whether a respective threat affected female football players’ goal scoring precision, i. e. a complex and demanding motor task. Those participants who were reminded of the stereotype scored significantly less hits than those not reminded. Additionally, deviations from the instruction during task execution (e. g. shooting from another distance than demanded or using the wrong foot) were recorded. Stereotype threat did not affect this comparatively more cognitive task of following instructions correctly. In order to explore underlying mechanisms of the observed stereotype effect, several potential mediators, e. g. measures of cognitive interference, or collective identification, were tested. None emerged as an unquestionable link between threat and motor performance. We discuss, however, why collective identification – in comparison to cognitive demand – appears to be the more promising explanatory concept.

Keywords: stereotype Threat, Football, Soccer, motor task, Precision, Sport

Received: 22 Jul 2018; Accepted: 09 Aug 2019.

Copyright: © 2019 Grabow and Kühl. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Hilmar Grabow, University of Kiel, Kiel, Germany,