Author Archives: sydnecoleman

Stereotype Threat

Since discovering the concept of stereotype threat, I wanted to dive deep and see if this plays a role in any other intelligence assessments. Stereotype threat is the notion that asking people of color or women about their racial/gender identities prior to a test can be correlated with poor performance and lower scores. This can be due to the amount of pressure an individual can feel about possibly being judged based on one or more of their identities which in turn affects the outcome. The APA released an article addressing the achievement gap that stems from this concept. This article also discussed stigma which can play a major role in poor performance on intelligence scores. There were several studies noted within the article but one that stuck out was conducted by Dr. Claude Steele, Dr. Diane Quinn, and Dr. Steven Spencer. These researchers discovered that by simply telling women that their math test results also showed gender differences, they performed worse than men. Conversely, when researchers told women that the tests showed no gender differences, they performed equal to men. It is important to note that stereotype threat is not the exact cause for differing performance levels however, researchers found that this concept has a significant influence on test performance. The results of these studies have led to people developing methods to reduce the achievement gap. 



Do Test Perceptions Influence Test Performance?


Eyewitnesses: Reliable or Not?

The concept of eyewitnesses and eyewitness statements is often debated in several different realms. Some experts say that these statements are not reliable whereas others think differently. However, a Supreme Court in Chicago found that the eyewitness statement (of a police officer) was enough proof in a case of gun possession. It’s important to note that this could influence future cases that are similar as well as set a precedent for future eyewitness statements. While reading about this case, I was curious to know how police body cameras affect their own eyewitness statements. An article from a reporter in Dayton Beach discusses the consequences and benefits of having body cameras. A key point of the article is that the body camera footage can support any statements made by the officer(s) as well as others involved. However, the video from these cameras can be blurry or even covered by other items on the officer’s vest. Additionally, police officers in Florida have the option of turning off their body cameras at their discretion. 

While reading these articles, I found that I became intrigued by the connection of eyewitness memories and Flashbulb memories. Flashbulb memories are detailed autobiographical memories that can often be associated with major life events. In the context of the case previously mentioned, the police officer could have feared for their life which caused them to remember the Defendant having a gun in their possession. This is not only a major event but also falls under the concept of consequentiality. Consequentiality is when someone has a flashbulb memory that could have a meaning in a person’s life. In that police officer’s case, the type of gun, their emotions during this stressful event, and what transpired after the fact could all have influenced their flashbulb memory. 

Overall, these articles were fascinating due to my previous knowledge regarding eyewitnesses. In high school, I was taught that eyewitnesses and their statements are unreliable. Additionally, in my criminal justice class, we were taught to never base a case on eyewitness statements alone. Now as times have changed, it seems that technology has advanced to a point where these testimonies can be supported through things such as video and photos. I believe that this is just the beginning of the advancements to come.

Also, I found a rather interesting video that shows the reliability of eyewitness statements! If anyone would like to check it out, it’s linked here! 🙂


Supreme Court Ruling

Body Cameras Support

Florida Body Camera Laws

Decreased cognitive processes

I recently discovered an article about the link between hearing or vision loss and cognitive processes such as memory and executive functions. A study conducted at Concordia University in Canada aimed to understand the link between reduced cognitive function and hearing or vision loss. The researchers attempted to test four hypotheses to see if there were any confounds that could explain this topic. The first hypothesis aimed to correlate the degeneration of cognitive processes with old age. The author states that as people age diseases like Dementia and Alzheimer’s can affect memory and other executive functions. The second hypothesis focused on whether the quality of the information affected the cognitive process. This touched on the notion that poor quality information could lead to poor cognitive functioning. The third hypothesis detailed the process of the brain expelling additional energy to comprehend what is occurring in the world around that person. Although these three hypotheses are interesting and should be researched they required additional time and resources. This led the researchers to their fourth and final hypothesis. The researchers looked to correlate sensory decline (vison or hearing loss) and social withdrawal and isolation. The participants were 45-85 years old and the sample size was 30,029 and it is important to note that all participants diagnosed with dementia were excluded from the study.  The researchers used a self-report system and requested that participants also visit a testing center in order to gather hearing and vision data. According to the article, the study discovered that hearing loss could lead to poor executive functioning.

Although this article was very informative it is missing several key details from the study the information is pulled from. Overall, I think this is a topic that should continue to be researched because I think this topic could improve the lives of the older generation.


Original Study: Hämäläinen, A., Phillips, N., Wittich, W., Pichora-Fuller, M., & Mick, P. (2019). Sensory-cognitive associations are only weakly mediated or moderated by social factors in the canadian longitudinal study on aging. Scientific Reports, 9(1), 19660. doi: