Please wait a minute...
Acta Psychologica Sinica
Meta-Stereotype Threat Effects on Working Memory Among Migrant Children: Mediating Effects of Intergroup Anxiety
SUN Yawen; HE Wen; LUO Junlong
(College of Education, Shanghai Normal University, Shanghai 200234, China)
Download: PDF(465 KB)   Review File (1 KB) 
Export: BibTeX | EndNote | Reference Manager | ProCite | RefWorks    


Meta-stereotype refers to a person’s beliefs regarding the stereotype that out-group members hold about their own group. The model of intergroup anxiety argues that negative meta-stereotype generates threat by creating negative expectations on the behavior of out-group members. Previous research has demonstrated that intergroup anxiety following stereotype threat contribute to the depletion of working memory and then impairs the performance in the related domain, but the mechanism of the meta-stereotype threat effects on cognition remains unclear. Accordingly, it was common that migrant children have the negative meta-stereotype, however, the influence of negative meta-stereotype on migrant children’s cognition has not been thoroughly investigated. The current study aimed to explore, firstly, the negative meta-stereotype effects on working memory among migrant children, secondly, the mediated role of the intergroup anxiety between meta-stereotype and working memory, thirdly, the moderated role of difficulty of working memory task on negative meta-stereotype effects.
A total of 90 migrant children participated in the present study. Participants were instructed to write descriptive adjectives to evoke negative meta-stereotype or not according to different instructions. Then, participants were assigned to either the meta-stereotype threat (MST) condition (25 males, 24 females, aged 11~13 years, M = 12.05, SD = 0.83) or the non-MST condition (21 males, 20 females, aged 11~13 years, M = 12.24, SD = 0.79). This study was organized into a 2×3 design. The first factor was the type of meta-stereotype, consisting of 2 levels, MST condition and non-MST condition. The second factor was the type of working memory, including 3 levels, 0-, 1-, and 2-back working memory tasks. The participants also completed the intergroup-anxiety scale. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) and mediation analysis were used to analyze the data.
The following results were observed: (1) The intergroup anxiety under the MST condition was higher than the case of non-MST condition. (2) The accuracy of the MST condition was significantly lower than that of the non-MST condition across the 0-, 1-, 2-back working memory tasks. Moreover, the accuracy in the MST and the non-MST condition both decreased significantly with the task difficulty growing. (3) In the 0-, 1-, 2-back working memory tasks, the reaction time of participants in the MST condition was significantly higher than those in the non-MST condition, and in the MST condition, the reaction time significantly increased with the increase of difficulty, the interaction between the group and the type of working memory was significant. (4) The relationship between the meta-stereotype and the accuracy of working memory (medium difficulty) was entirely mediated by the intergroup anxiety. The relationship between the meta-stereotype and the reaction time of working memory (medium difficulty) was partially mediated by the intergroup anxiety.
Overall, it was suggested that the deleterious effects of negative meta-stereotype on working memory and the intergroup anxiety among migrant children contributed to the explanation of the decline of working memory at medium level of difficulty. Further study still needs to precisely assess other factors (i.e., prejudice, social identity, and so on) that are involved in the threat effects of the meta-stereotype.
Keywords migrant children      meta-stereotype threat      intergroup anxiety      working memory      mediating effects     
Corresponding Authors: HE Wen, E-mail:; LUO Junlong, E-mail:   
Issue Date: 25 November 2015
E-mail this article
E-mail Alert
Articles by authors
SUN Yawen
HE Wen
LUO Junlong
Cite this article:   
SUN Yawen,HE Wen,LUO Junlong. Meta-Stereotype Threat Effects on Working Memory Among Migrant Children: Mediating Effects of Intergroup Anxiety[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2015.01349
URL:     OR
[1] DING Xiao, LV Na, YANG Yalin, SI Jiwei.  Age-related differences of different components of working memory: The predictive effect on strategy utilization in arithmetic[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2017, 49(6): 759-770.
[2] LI Songze; HU Jinsheng; LI Chengshi; WANG Qi; HE Jianqing; WANG Yan; YANG Cuiping. Chunking processing of spatial working memory in autism preschool children[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2017, 49(5): 631-642.
[3] GUO Haiying; CHEN Lihua; YE Zhi; PAN Jin; LIN Danhua. Characteristics of peer victimization and the bidirectional relationship between peer victimization and internalizing problems among rural-to-urban migrant children in China: A longitudinal study[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2017, 49(3): 336-348.
[4] YIN Huazhan; LI Dan; CHEN Yingyu; Huang Xiting. The characteristic of 1~6 s duration cognition segmentation[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2016, 48(9): 1119-1129.
[5] HU Yanmei; ZHANG Ming. Electrophysiological evidence for memory-based attentional capture and memory-based attentional rejection effects[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2016, 48(1): 12-21.
[6] ZHANG Bao1,2; SHAO Jiaying1; HU Cenlou1; Huang Sai1. Attentional Guidance from Activated and Inhibitory States of  Working Memory Representations[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2015, 47(9): 1089-1100.
[7] LI Yanfang; LIU Lijun; LV Ying; LUO Fang; WANG Yun. The Influence of Parent-child Relationship and Teacher-child Relational #br# Climate on Rural Migrant Children’s Early Behavior Problems[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2015, 47(7): 914-927.
[8] XUE ChengBo; YE ChaoXiong; ZHANG Yin; LIU Qiang. Memory Mechanism of Feature Binding in Visual Working Memory[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2015, 47(7): 851-858.
[9] LI Cuihong; HE Xu; GUO Chunyan. The Storage Mechanism of Multi-feature Objects in Visual Working Memory[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2015, 47(6): 734-745.
[10] CHEN Xuqian; ZHANG Jijia; ZHU Yunxia. The Research of Inhibition Deficit Hypothesis in the Aging of Speech Production: Evidence from Different Speech Level[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2015, 47(3): 329-343.
[11] BAI Tian; LYU Chuang; WEI Liuqing; ZHOU Yibin; ZHANG Xuemin. The Facilitating Effect of Target-Nontarget Categorical Difference in Identity on Multiple Identity Tracking[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2015, 47(2): 203-211.
[12] HE Xiayou; YANG Huilan; ZHANG Wei; ZHAO Xueru; XIE Yi. Dynamic Updating Process of Readers’ Temporal Situation Model: From Short-term Working Memory to Long-term Working Memory[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2015, 47(10): 1235-1246.
[13] ZHANG Wei; ZHOU Bingping; ZANG Ling; MO Shuliang. The Attentional Capture of Internet Addicts under the Guidance of Visual Working Memory[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2015, 47(10): 1223-1234.
[14] REN Yanju; SUN Qi. Effects of Visuo-spatial Working Memory Loads on the Real-World Scene Search Performance[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2014, 46(11): 1613-1627.
[15] PENG Jun; MO Lei; HUANG Ping; ZHOU Ying; WANG Jing; ANG Chen. Improvements in Children’s Fluid Intelligence with Working Memory Training[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2014, 46(10): 1498-1508.
Full text



Copyright © Acta Psychologica Sinica
Support by Beijing Magtech