We report the results of an experiment mirroring an earlier study finding that Asian-American women performed better on a math test when their Asian identity was salient and worse when their female identity was salient (Shih et al., 1999; Ambady et al., 2001; and Shih et al., 2002). In this paper, we assessed the performance of Asian-American women on a verbal test, a situation in which the valence of the stereotypes associated with the same two identities (i.e. Female, Asian) are flipped. Consistent with stereotypes, women performed better on the verbal test when their female identity was made salient than when their Asian identity was made salient. These results, taken together with the previously reported findings, indicate that identities are not universally adaptive or maladaptive, but rather are adaptive or maladaptive in different domains.


Shih, Margaret, Todd L. Pittinsky, and Amy Trahan. "Domain Specific Effects of Stereotypes on Performance." KSG Faculty Research Working Paper Series RWP05-026, March 2005.