Date Thesis Awarded
Bachelors of Arts (BA)
Cheryl L. Dickter
Solo status, defined as being the only member of one's social category in an otherwise homogenous group, has been shown to have detrimental effects on performance, independent of a stereotype being salient, and persists until the minority has breached the 33% mark. While previous research has fully explored performance and perception aspects of solo status, little research has examined its effect on learning or on potential moderating variables. The current study examined white female college students' (n=120) ability to learn and perform when placed in a solo status group (i.e., three white males) or a control group (i.e., two white males and one white female). Participants completed two learning stages and a performance stage, throughout which participants were taught and tested on shorthand, an un-stereotyped, academic task. Participants also completed measures of previous experience with solo status and endorsement of traditional gender roles. Results revealed that the performance of participants in the solo condition during testing was better when they reported having frequently presented as a solo in social and academic settings compared to those with less solo experience. Further, results also revealed that when presenting as a solo, the learning and subsequent performance of material was better for participants who denied traditional gender roles compared to those who endorsed them, while participants in the control condition revealed the opposite effect, with learning and performance decreasing as rejection of traditional gender roles increased. Combined, these results suggest that previous solo status experience as well as a rejection of traditional gender roles may allow women to overcome the detrimental effects of presenting as a solo during learning and testing, possibly providing participants with an ability to cope when learning and performing as a solo member.
Chaney, Kimberly E., "Surmounting Solo Status: Beliefs and Previous Experience Buffer Solo Women's Learning" (2013). Undergraduate Honors Theses. Paper 766.
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