How to quickly and easily improve performance in most any area:

Before you start, think about the stereotype of someone who excels at what you’re attempting:

Previous research has shown that activating a stereotype can influence subsequent behavior in a stereotype-consistent way. The present research investigates the role of self-efficacy beliefs in this effect. Specifically, we demonstrate that being primed with the stereotype of professors increases knowledge confidence compared to being primed with a less educated profession (Experiments 1 and 2), and that these higher self-efficacy beliefs result in higher performance at a general knowledge test (Experiment 2). These findings are corroborated in Experiment 3 that shows that participants primed with the stereotype of athletes show higher persistence in a physical exercise than participants primed with a stereotype less associated with persistence. Again, behavior was mediated by self-efficacy beliefs. The findings are in line with the active-self account (Wheeler & Petty, 2001; Wheeler, DeMarree, & Petty, 2007) that proposes that priming with a stereotype influences a person’s behavior through altered self-representations.

Source: “Think of Capable Others and You Can Make It! Self-Efficacy Mediates the Effect of Stereotype Activation on Behavior” from the journal “Social Cognition”


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