Poster presented at the 90th Annual Western Psychological Association Convention in Cancun. Mexico.
Abstract: Chang and Koch (2008) examined scores from the MSCEIT, a multi-faceted measure of emotional intelligence, before and after METT and SETT training for improving the detection of facially expressed emotions. They found that no overall increase in MSCEIT scores after METT and SETT training. Instead, they found an increase is scores for females and a decrease in scores for males. One possible explanation for this counter-intuitive finding is that the participants were trained in a group setting. The presence of females during an emotion-related task may have triggered an emotion-based stereotype for the male participants despite that fact that the stereotype was never mentioned during training. This stereotype could have created a stereotype threat situation which would explain the drop in MSCEIT scores for the males. The present study was conducted to examine this possible explanation. Four groups were included in the study. There were two groups of males and two groups of females. One group of males and one group of females received low-threat instructions from a male researcher in which they were told that the study addressed face perception. A second group of males and females received high-threat instructions from a female researcher in which they were told that the study was being conducted to determine if training could improve men’s ability on emotion tasks so that they performed on the same level of women or to further enhance women’s superior ability on the task compared to men depending upon the gender of the group. Results show preliminary support for the stereotype threat explanation. Implications for training males and females on abilities related to emotional intelligence are discussed.