Robert J. Rydell, an assistant professor in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at Indiana University (Bloomington), led a study that looked into women and their ability to perform complicated problems in mathematics.
The study by Rydell and collaborators (Allen R. McConnell and Sian L. Beilock) appears in the May issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.
Its title is "Multiple Social Identities and Stereotype Threat: Imbalance, Accessibility, and Working Memory” (volume 96(5), May 2009, pages 949-966).
The authors state that they performed four experiments involving between 57 and 112 female undergraduate college students. In each experiment a certain number of females performed difficult math problems.
One group of the women were not given any information on stereotypes before doing the problems.
A second group of women were made aware of only negative stereotypes (such as men are better at math than women), while a third group were made aware of only positive stereotypes (such as college students perform better at math than non-college students).
A fourth group of women are made aware of both negative and positive stereotypes before doing the math problems.
Page two considers negative stereotypes, positive stereotypes, and both negative/positive stereotypes with women and math.