Effects of attachment security priming on women’s math performance

Antonio Soares De Almeida, Omri Gillath, Rotem Kahalon, Nurit Shnabel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Activating people’s sense of attachment security can buffer against psychological threats. Here we tested whether security priming can also buffer the adverse effects of stereotype threat among women. Method: Three studies (a pilot study (N = 79 women, 72 men), a laboratory study; N = 474 women, and an online study; N = 827 women) compared security priming to neutral and positive affect priming. Results: The pilot study revealed that women exposed to attachment security primes (e.g., the word “love”) had better math performance than women exposed to neutral primes (e.g., “boat”). Men’s math performance did not differ across priming conditions. Study 1 revealed that women showed better math performance in the attachment security priming condition than in the neutral or positive (e.g., “luck”) priming conditions. The effect was observed among women high on math identification. In Study 2, despite an effect of security priming on the manipulation check [higher State Adult Attachment Measure (SAAM) security score], security did not buffer stereotype threat effects. Discussion: Our findings provide partial support to the idea that security priming (an interpersonal process) can buffer stereotype threat (an intergroup process). Theoretical and practical implications related to attachment security priming and stereotype threat are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1124308
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
StatePublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2023 Soares De Almeida, Gillath, Kahalon and Shnabel.


  • attachment security
  • domain identification
  • math performance
  • priming
  • stereotype threat


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