Four experiments tested the hypothesis that people who are concerned with impression management cope with stereotype threat through denial. Consistent with this hypothesis, temporary employees threatened by a stereotype of incompetence (Study 1) and hostel-dwelling older adults (Study 2) were more likely to deny incompetence if they were high in impression management. African Americans (Study 3) showed a similar pattern of denying cognitive incompetence, which emerged primarily when they were interviewed by a White experimenter and had attended a predominantly Black high school. In Study 4, White students who expected to take an IQ test and were threatened by a stereotype of being less intelligent than Asians were more likely to deny that intelligence is important if they were high in impression management.
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 89, 22-35.