ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B

心理学报 ›› 2023, Vol. 55 ›› Issue (8): 1344-1357.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2023.01344

• 研究报告 • 上一篇    下一篇


董天天1, 徐璐璐2, 贺雯1()   

  1. 1上海师范大学教育学院, 上海 200234
    2上海交通大学医学院学生工作指导委员会, 上海 200025
  • 收稿日期:2022-09-09 出版日期:2023-08-25 发布日期:2023-05-12
  • 通讯作者: 贺雯, E-mail:
  • 作者简介:第一联系人:


  • 基金资助:

Is positivity always beneficial? The effect of positive meta-stereotypes on working memory and their mechanism

DONG Tiantian1, XU Lulu2, HE Wen1()   

  1. 1College of Education, Shanghai Normal University, Shanghai 200234, China
    2Student Affairs Steering Committee, Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, Shanghai 200025, China
  • Received:2022-09-09 Online:2023-08-25 Published:2023-05-12


以往关于元刻板印象的研究集中于消极视角, 而对积极元刻板印象如何影响认知加工缺乏相应探讨。本研究采用N-back任务, 选取农村大学生为被试, 通过3个实验考察积极元刻板印象激活对工作记忆的影响及其机制。结果表明, 在工作记忆高难度任务(2-back)中, 积极元刻板印象激活会导致更低的正确率, 趋近动机在其中起中介作用, 核心自我评价起调节作用, 即积极元刻板印象激活会通过增加趋近动机, 降低高难度任务的正确率, 且这一效应仅存在于高核心自我评价者中。本研究将积极元刻板印象窒息效应拓展到认知加工领域, 并且揭示了窒息效应的内在机制。

关键词: 积极元刻板印象, 窒息效应, 工作记忆, 趋近动机, 核心自我评价


Meta-stereotypes are ingroup beliefs regarding the stereotypes that outgroup members hold about the ingroup members. Studies on meta-stereotypes have been conducted with a focus from the negative perspective of it. In comparison, positive meta-stereotypes can have either a boost effect or a choking effect. However, there is a lack of discussion on them, especially in cognitive processing. As the core of cognitive processing, working memory influences many aspects of information processing. Based on the positive meta-stereotypes effect, this study investigates the relationship between positive meta-stereotypes and working memory, as well as their underlying mechanisms.

Approach motivation may be closely related to positive meta-stereotypes and working memory. When positive meta-stereotypes are activated, individuals tend to increase approach motivation to prove that they have reached the expectations of others. In addition, approach motivation is an essential factor affecting working memory. The stronger the approach motivation is, the worse the working memory performance will be. However, approach motivation’s role in the relationship between positive meta-stereotypes and working memory remains unknown. Therefore, this study clarifies the relationship between positive meta-stereotypes and working memory and reveals approach motivation’s mediating role in the association between positive meta-stereotypes and working memory.

Core self-evaluations refers to the essential evaluation of an individual’s ability and value, which may be a potential moderating variable of the meta-stereotypes effect. According to the Theory of Resource Conservation, core self-evaluations alleviates the harmful influence of external pressure on individuals. Individuals with high core self-evaluations have more resources to combat the adverse impact of pressure after positive meta-stereotypes are activated. To be more specific, when positive meta-stereotypes are activated, low core self-evaluators will experience stress, reducing working memory performance.

The current study comprised three experiments. Experiment 1 aimed to explore the relationship between meta-stereotypes and working memory in college students from rural areas. All participants were randomly assigned to positive meta-stereotypes activation or control conditions. They then completed meta-stereotypes manipulation examination and N-back task. Compared with the control group, the positive meta-stereotypes activation group had a lower working memory accuracy under difficult task conditions. Experiment 2 examined the mediating effect of approach motivation. All participants were randomly assigned to positive meta-stereotypes activation or control conditions. Subsequently, they completed meta-stereotypes manipulation examination, approach motivation measurement and N-back task. The results of Experiment 1 were replicated as approach motivation played a mediating role. Finally, Experiment 3 explored the moderating effect of core self- evaluations. The participants completed core self-evaluations measures and the same measurement as Experiment 2. The results replicated the findings of Experiment 2 and found that core self-evaluations played a moderator. The working memory accuracy of the participants with high core self-evaluations decreased in the difficult task (2-back). The research results support the “stress vulnerability hypothesis”.

This study enriches the previous research on meta-stereotypes and its mechanisms on working memory. These findings have theoretical value concerning meta-stereotypes effect and practical value in alleviating the harmful effects of positive meta-stereotypes.

Key words: positive meta-stereotypes, choking effect, working memory, approach motivation, core self-evaluations