University roles and responsibilities
- Athena SWAN Committee Member
- Communications Committee
- Director of Learning and Teaching
In the media
My research interests focus on what children and young people learn in everyday interactions with a particular focus on:
- Children’s understanding of equity with a focus on intergroup relations, discrimination, and rights
- Academic achievement, especially scientific development
- Emotion understanding in children
- Understanding of heterosexist marriage traditions
The Council of Europe has developed a Reference Framework of Competences for Democratic Culture (RFCDC), which is a comprehensive set of materials that has been developed by the Council of Europe to promote and enhance citizenship education in the national school systems of European countries. This Erasmus+ project will develop and test the efficacy of school curriculum designed to teach democratic and intercultural competence in school children in Year 3 (aged 8 years) in five countries (Italy, Spain, Bulgaria, Romania, and Norway).
Project partners may be found here: https://www.cvs-project.eu/project-partners/.
Our emotions influence how we view the world. Positive emotions may support young people in being more tolerant. In our past work (Tenenbaum, Capelos, Lorimer, & Stocks, 2018), induction of happiness was related to being more tolerant toward asylum-seeking youth. In a follow-up study with Dr. Tereza Capelos (https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/staff/profiles/gov/capelos-tereza.aspx), we are examining whether mood influences how people reasons about rights.
The aim of the study is to examine the link between adolescents’ (aged 11 to 17) understanding of heterosexual marriage traditions and their beliefs about sexism. Previous research has demonstrated such a link for college students, and thus our research focuses on adolescents to ascertain how and when such a connection is made.
This study involves a 20-minute interview conducted over skype.
We would ask questions on marriage between men and women such as “Can you tell me about what happens when people get married?” and “Do you want to have the same surname as your spouse? Why/why not?”
We will also collect participants’ demographic information (e.g., gender, age, and ethnicity).
If your children is interested in participating, please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will arrange a time over skype.
Children and Inequality
Seminar Series conducted by Drs. Julie Dickinson, Michaela Gummerum, and Harriet Tenenbaum in JAN 2020 at Birkbeck University, JUNE 2020 at University of Surrey, and JAN 2021 at University of Warwick.
A plethora of reports by governmental agencies, think tanks, international organizations, and newspapers chart the development and stubborn persistence of income inequality in the UK. Epidemiological research has shown that societies with greater income inequality score lower than more equal societies in common public health indicators (e.g., morbidity, infant mortality; Wilkinson & Pickett, 2006), but also well-being and mental health (Pickett & Wilkinson, 2015). Thus, income inequality has adverse effects for individuals and societies at large. The purpose of this seminar series is to understand how children reason about inequalities at societal and interpersonal levels and how inequality affects them at a personal level.
The scientific goals are to understand the developmental sequence of children’s understanding and awareness of inequality reconciling different research traditions. We will have three streams of focus. Stream 1 will focus on children’s experiences of inequality, whether they experience inequality, and associated outcomes. Stream 2 will focus on children’s understanding of system justification in relation to income inequality. Finally, stream 3 will look at boundary conditions of children’s equal and unequal behaviour, such as the influence of socio-economic status or social power.
By the conclusion of the seminar series, we aim to have compiled and written a systematic review and meta-analysis on the topic on children’s evaluation of inequality. Second, we will develop the methodology and design for future empirical studies.
We will try to reinvigorate research on this topic by holding an open one-day conference the day after our one-meeting at Warwick. The one-day conference is open to anyone who wants to present a poster or give a talk.
We have funding to offset some of the travel costs for three people to join us.
If you would like to be part of this seminar series, please email Harriet Tenenbaum (email@example.com) with a 200 word explanation of why you would like to join and a CV by 1 NOV 2019.
Please note that you must be able to commit to all three seminar dates. Early career researchers are especially encouraged to apply.
Tenenbaum, H. R., & Leonard, H. C. (in press). Motor skills predict faux pas understanding in childhood. Infant and Child Development.
Tenenbaum, H. R., Winstone, N. E., Leman, P. J., & Avery, R. E. (in press). How effective is peer learning? A meta-analysis. Journal of Educational Psychology.
Aznar, A., & Tenenbaum, H. R. (in press). Gender comparisons in mother-child emotion talk: A meta-analysis. Sex Roles.
Hirst, S., Hepper, E., & Tenenbaum, H. R. (in press). Attachment dimensions and forgiveness of others: A meta-analysis. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships.
Gilles, J. K., Elisha, I., Ruck, M. R., Tenenbaum, H. R., & Willenberg, I. (in press). Does situation matter in conceptions of children's nurturance and self-determination rights? An examination of South African children's and mothers' perspectives. International Journal of Children’s Rights.
Tenenbaum, H. R., Leman, P. J., Aznar, A., Duthie, R., & Killen, M. (2018). Young people’s reasoning about exclusion in novel groups. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 175, 1-16.
Alsamih, M., & Tenenbaum, H. R. (2018). Saudi Arabian children's reasoning about religion-based exclusion. British Journal of Developmental Psychology.
Tenenbaum, H. R., Capelos, T., Lorimer, J., & Stocks, T. (2018). Positive thinking elevates tolerance: Experimental effects of happiness on adolescents’ attitudes towards asylum seekers. Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry.
Robnett. R. D., Wertheimer, M., & Tenenbaum, H. R. (2018). Does a woman’s marital surname choice influence perceptions of her husband? An analysis focusing on gender-typed traits and relationship power dynamics. Sex Roles.
Fidalgo, A. M., Tenenbaum, H. R., & Aznar, A. (2018). Are there gender differences in emotion comprehension? Analysis of the Test of Emotion Comprehension. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 27, 1065-1074.
Strohmeier, D., Barrett, M. D., Bora, C., Caravita, S., Donghi, E., Dragoti E., Fife-Schaw, C. R., Gómez-López, M., Kapéter, E., Mazzone, A., Rama R., Roşeanu G., Ortega-Ruiz, R., Steiner H., Trip, S., Tenenbaum, H. R., Urhane, D., &Viejo, C. (2017). Young people’s engagement with the European Union: The importance of visions and worries for the future of Europe. Journal of Psychology / Zeitschrift für Psychologie, 225, 313-325.
Tenenbaum, H. R., Leman, P. J., & Aznar, A. (2017). Children’s reasoning about peer and school segregation in a diverse society Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology, 358-365.
To, C., Tenenbaum, H. R., and Hogh, H. (2017). Secondary school students’ reasoning about evolution. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 54, 247-273.
Lindell, A. K., Tenenbaum, H. R., & Aznar, A. (2017). Left cheek bias for emotion perception, but not expression, is established in children aged 3 – 7 years. Laterality: Asymmetries of Body, Brain and Cognition, 22, 17-30.
To, C., Tenenbaum, H. R., & Wormald, D. (2016). What do parents and children talk about at a natural history museum? Curator, 59, 369-385.
Tenenbaum, H. R., & Hohenstein, J. M. (2016). Parent-child talk about the origins of living things. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 150: 314-329.
Aznar, A., & Tenenbaum, H. R. (2016). Parent-child positive touch: Gender, age, and task differences. Journal of Nonverbal Behavior, 40, 317-333.
Tenenbaum, H. R., To, C., Wormald, D., Pegram, E. (2015). Changes and stability in reasoning after a field trip to a natural history museum. Science Education, 99, 1073-1091.
Aznar, A., & Tenenbaum, H. R. (2015). Gender differences in parent-child emotion talk. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 33,148-155.
Willenberg, I. A., Tenenbaum, H. R., & Ruck, M. D. (2014). “It’s not like in apartheid”: South African children’s knowledge of their rights. International Journal of Children’s Rights, 22, 446–466.
Van Herwegen, J., Aznar, A., & Tenenbaum, H. R. (2014). The use of emotions in narratives in Williams Syndrome. Journal of Communication Disorders, 50, 1-7.
Ruck, M. D., & Tenenbaum, H. R. (2014). Does moral and social conventional reasoning predict British young people’s judgments about the rights of asylum-seeker youth? Journal of Social Issues, 70, 47-62, DOI: 10.1111/josi.12046.
Aznar, A., & Tenenbaum, H. R. (2013). Spanish parents’ emotion talk and their children’s understanding of emotion. Frontiers in Developmental Psychology, doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00670.
Tenenbaum, H. R., & Ruck, M. D. (2012). British adolescents' and young adults' understanding and reasoning about the religious and non-religious rights of asylum-seeker youth. Child Development, 83, 1102-1115.
Møller, S. J., & Tenenbaum, H. R. (2011). Danish majority children’s reasoning about exclusion based on gender and ethnicity. Child Development, 82, 520-532.
Alfieri, L., Brooks, P. J., Aldrich, N. J., & Tenenbaum, H. R. (2011). Does discovery-based instruction enhance learning?, Journal of Educational Psychology, 103, 1-18.
Tenenbaum, H. R., Ford, S., & Alkhedairy, B. (2011). Telling stories: Gender differences in peers’ emotion talk and communication style, British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 29, 707-721.
Ruck, M. D., Tenenbaum, H. R., & Willenberg, I. (2011). South African mixed-race children’s and mothers’ judgments and reasoning about children’s nurturance and self-determination rights. Social Development, 20, 517-535.
Leman, P. J., & Tenenbaum, H. R. (2011). Practising gender: Children’s relationships and the development of gendered behaviour and beliefs. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 29, 153-157.
Aldrich, N. J., Tenenbaum, H. R., Brooks, P. J., Harrison, K., & Sines, J. (2011). Perspective-taking in children's narratives about jealousy, British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 29, 86-109.
Tenenbaum, H. R., Prior, J., Dowling, C., & Frost, R. E. (2010). Supporting parent-child conversations in a history museum. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 80, 241-254.
Tenenbaum, H. R., Hill, D. B., Joseph, N., & Roche, E. (2010). "It's a boy because he's painting a picture": Age differences in children's conventional and unconventional gender schemas. British Journal of Psychology,101, 137-154.
Tenenbaum, H. R. (2009). “You’d Be Good at that”: Gender patterns in parent-child talk about courses. Social Development, 18, 447-463.
Tenenbaum, H. R., & Callanan, M. A. (2008). Parents’ science talk to their children in Mexican-descent families residing in the United States. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 32, 1-12.
Tenenbaum, H. R., Alfieri, L., Brooks, P. J., & Dunne, G. (2008). The role of explanatory conversations in children’s emotion understanding. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 26, 249-263.
Frisina, P.G., Borod, J. C., Foldi, N.S., & Tenenbaum, H. R. (2008). Depression in Parkinson’s disease: Health risks, etiology, and treatment options. Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment, 4.
Frisina, P. G., Tenenbaum, H. R., Borod, J. C., & Foldi, N. (2008). A meta-analytic study of the effects of TCAs, SSRIs, and MAOs on the health outcomes of Parkinson’s disease patients. The International Journal of Neuroscience, 5, 667-682.
Rappolt-Schlichtmann, G., Tenenbaum, H. R., Koepke, M., & Fischer, K. W. (2007). Transient and robust knowledge: Contextual support and the dynamics of children’s reasoning about density. Mind, Brain, and Education, 1, 98-108.
Ruck, M. D., Tenenbaum, H. R., & Sines, J. (2007). Brief report: British adolescents’ views about the rights of asylum-seeking children. Journal of Adolescence, 30, 687-693.
Tenenbaum, H. R., & Ruck, M. D. (2007). Do teachers hold different expectations for ethnic minority than for European-American children?: A meta-analysis. Journal of Educational Psychology, 99, 253-273.
Tenenbaum, H. R., Porche, M. V., Snow, C. E., Ross, S., & Tabors, P. (2007). Maternal and child predictors of low-income children’s educational attainment, Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 28, 227-238.
Aldrich, N. J., & Tenenbaum, H. R. (2006). Anger, sadness, and frustration: Gendered patterns in early adolescents’ and their parents’ emotion talk. Sex Roles, 55, (11-12), 775-785.
Tenenbaum, H. R., Snow, C. E., Roach, K., & Kurland, B. (2005). Talking and reading science: Longitudinal data on sex differences in mother-child conversations in low-income families. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 26, 1-19.
Tenenbaum, H. R., Visscher, P., Pons, F., & Harris, P. L. (2004). Emotional understanding in Quechua children from an agro-pastoralist village. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 28, 471-478.
Tenenbaum, H. R., Rappolt-Schlichtmann, G., & Zanger, V. V. (2004). Children’s learning about water in a museum and a classroom. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 19, 40-58.
Tenenbaum, H. R., & Leaper, C. (2003). Parent-child conversations about science: Socialization of
gender inequities. Developmental Psychology, 39, 34-47.
Tenenbaum, H. R., & Leaper, C. (2002). Are Parents' Gender Schemas Related to their Children's Gender-Related Cognitions?: A Meta Analysis. Developmental Psychology, 38, 615-630.
Tenenbaum, H. R., Callanan, M., Alba-Speyer, C., & Sandoval, L. (2002). The Role of Educational Background, Activity, and Past Experiences in Mexican-descent Families' Science Conversations. Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, 24, 225-248.
Crowley, K., Callanan, M.A., Tenenbaum, H.R., & Allen, E. (2001). Parents explain more often to boys than to girls during shared scientific thinking. Psychological Science, 12, 258-261.
Tenenbaum, H. R., Crosby, F. J., & Gliner, M. D. (2001). Mentoring relationships in graduate school. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 59, 326-341.
Leaper, C., Tenenbaum, H. R., & Shaffer, T. G. (1999). Communication patterns of African-American girls and boys from low-income, urban backgrounds. Child Development, 70, 1489-1503.
Tenenbaum, H. R., & Leaper, C. (1998). Mothers' and fathers' responses to their Mexican-descent child: A sequential analysis. First Language, 18, 129-147.
Tenenbaum, H. R., & Leaper, C. (1997). Mothers' and fathers' questions to their child in Mexican-descent families: Moderators of cognitive demand during play. Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, 19, 318-332.
Leman, P. J., & Tenenbaum, H. R. (Eds.) (2014). Gender and Relationships. Routledge: Psych Press.
Strohmeier, D., & Tenenbaum, H. R. (Eds.) (2019). Young Peoples’ Visions and Worries for the Future of Europe: Findings from the Europe 2038 Project. Routledge: Psych Press.
Strohmeier, D., Barrett, M. D., Bora, C., Caravita, S., Donghi, E., Dragoti E., Fife-Schaw, C. R., Gómez-López, M., Kapéter, E., Mazzone, A., Rama R., Roşeanu G., Ortega-Ruiz, R., Steiner H., Trip, S., Tenenbaum, H. R., Urhane, D., &Viejo, C. (2019). Predictors of young people‘s engagement with the European Union. In D. Strohmeier & H. R. Tenenbaum (Eds.) Young Peoples’ Visions and Worries for the Future of Europe: Findings from the Europe 2038 Project. Routledge: Psych Press.
Tenenbaum, H. R., Barrett, M. D., & Fife-Schaw, C. (2019). What predicts British young people’s views of Europe? In D. Strohmeier & H. R. Tenenbaum (Eds.) Young Peoples’ Visions and Worries for the Future of Europe: Findings from the Europe 2038 Project. Routledge: Psych Press.
Strohmeier, D., & Tenenbaum, H. R. (2019). Young peoples’ engagement with the European Union and their visions and worries for the future of Europe. In D. Strohmeier & H. R. Tenenbaum (Eds.) Young Peoples’ Visions and Worries for the Future of Europe: Findings from the Europe 2038 Project. Routledge: Psych Press.
Strohmeier, D., & Tenenbaum, H. R. (2019). Recommendations to strengthen young peoples’ engagement with the European Union. In D. Strohmeier & H. R. Tenenbaum (Eds.) Young Peoples’ Visions and Worries for the Future of Europe: Findings from the Europe 2038 Project. Routledge: Psych Press.
Tenenbaum, H. R & Aznar, A. (2017). Diferencias de género en la expresión emocional en la infancia. [Gender differences in emotion expression in early childhood]. In Marta Giménez-Dasí and L. Quintanilla. Desarrollo Emocional en la Infancia Temprana: Debates Actuales y Retos Futuros. [Emotional Development in Early Childhood: Current Debates and Future Challenges]. Pirámide.
Aznar, A., Tenenbaum, H. R., & Ruck, M. D. (2017). Bullying of religious minorities and asylum seekers. In H. Cowie and C. Meyers (Eds). School Bullying and Mental Health: Risks, Intervention and Prevention. Routledge.
Ruck, M. D., Peterson-Badali, M., Elisha, E. M., & Tenenbaum, H. R. (2017). Children’s voices about children’s rights: Thoughts from developmental psychology. In M. D. Ruck (Ed). The Handbook of Children’s Rights. Routledge.
Leman, P. J. & Tenenbaum, H. (2017). Communication in children’s and adolescents’ social groups, in A. Rutland, D. Nesdale, & C. S. Brown (Eds.), The Wiley-Blackwell Handbook of Group Processes in Children and Adolescents. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.
Leaper, C., & Tenenbaum, H. R. (2016). Gender socialization in childhood. In K. Nadal. The Sage Encyclopedia of Psychology and Gender.
Tenenbaum, H. R., Leman, P. J., Aznar, A., & To, C. (2016). Studying children’s conversation. In J. Van Herwegen and J. Prior (Eds.), Developmental Methods. Oxford: Psychology Press.
Tenenbaum, H. R., & May, D. (2014). Gender in parent-child relationships. In P. J. Leman & H. R. Tenenbaum (Eds), Gender Development. Oxford: Psychology Press.
Leman, P. J. & Tenenbaum, H. R. (2014). Introduction. In P. J. Leman & H. R. Tenenbaum (Eds). Gender Development. Oxford, UK: Psychology Press.
Tenenbaum, H. R., Aznar, A., & Leman, P.J. (2014). Gender differences in language development. In P. J. Brooks & V. Kempe (Eds.), Encyclopaedia of Language Development. Sage.
Tenenbaum, H. R. (2013). Editorial. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 83, 1-2.
Joshi, L. H. with Rosen, G., & Tenenbaum, H. R. (2011). Raising Children: The Primary Years. Prentice Hall Life.
Roberts, R., Bećirević, M., & Tenenbaum, H. R. (2007). Children and war: Making sense of Iraq. (pp. 170-180). In R. Roberts (Ed.), Just War: Psychology, Terrorism, and Iraq. PCCS Books: Ross-on-Wye.
Tenenbaum, H. R., & Aldrich, N. (2005). Gender Differences. In N. A. Salkind (Ed.), The Encyclopedia of Human Development. Volume 2, 557-563.
Callanan, M. A., Alba-Speyer, C., & Tenenbaum, H. R. (2000). Linking home and school through children’s questions that followed family science workshops (Research Brief No. 8). Santa Cruz, CA and Washington, DC: Center for Research on Education, Diversity, and Excellence.
Cowie, H., Jones, F., & Tenenbaum, H. R. (in press). Emily is Being Bullied, What can she do? London, UK: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.
Tenenbaum, H. R., & Hill. D. B. (2006). [Review of Brain Gender]. M. Hines. Oxford, UK: Oxford Press. Feminism and Psychology, 16, 495-501.
Thompson, R. B. & Tenenbaum, H. (2002). [Review of Culturally Speaking: Managing Rapport Through Talk Across Cultures] H. Spencer-Oatey (Ed.). London, England and New York, NY: Continuum Press (2000). Journal of Language and Social Psychology, 21, 183-187.
inconvenience for researchers who would rather focus on illuminating universal laws of
human behaviour.Developmentalists have been no less guilty of this approach than many
others. Yet, gender is a topic thatwill not go away, and it will not disappear because it is a
ubiquitous and fundamental part of any child?s development. As such, it is hard to imagine
how a child can ever develop without gender influencing her behaviour, thinking, or
social relationships. Therefore, developmental psychologists should be interested in
gender because research demonstrates that from a young age children react to their
own and others? gender and think about gender in complex, subtle, and nuanced ways.
By understanding how gender links with relationships across development, we can also
come to understand and possibly begin to address an enduring source of inequality in
adult social relationships and roles. This Special Issue explores how gender influences
children?s and adolescents? behaviour, communication, and thinking across contexts.
single?faith schools and play contexts. Young people (twenty?three
8? to 10?year?olds and fifty?three 12? to 14?year?olds) were asked
to judge and reason about the acceptability of exclusion based on
gender and religion by children and school principals. Participants
rated exclusion based on gender as more acceptable than based
on religion. Exclusion from school contexts was rated as more
acceptable than exclusion from play contexts. Participants tended
to invoke moral reasons to condemn exclusion when reasoning
about religion, whereas they tended to invoke social conventional
reasons when reasoning about gender. Young people's greater support
for religiously inclusive schooling compared to gender inclusive
schooling suggests that societal and governmental acceptance of
religious diversity has support from future generations.
One meta-analysis and four empirical studies examined the influence of insecure attachment dimensions on forgiveness of others. Study 1 was a meta-analysis of 26 studies and demonstrated a small-to-moderate negative effect of attachment anxiety and avoidance on forgiveness of others. Study 2 examined the association between insecure attachment dimensions and forgiveness of a hypothetical relationship partner. Attachment anxiety and avoidance both negatively predicted forgiveness, regardless of severity of transgression and presence/ absence of apology. Indirect effects of rumination, empathy, and negative attributions were present for both attachment anxiety and avoidance, but unique indirect effects were also identified. Fear mediated the anxiety-forgiveness association and motivation to sustain the relationship mediating the avoidance-forgiveness association. This study also clarified the factor structure of forgiveness and related post-transgression responses. Study 3 assessed the efficacy of attachment security priming on boosting forgiveness of a hypothetical transgression and clarified the type of fear that mediates the anxiety-forgiveness association (i.e., fear of losing relationship partner). Attachment security priming successfully boosted Positive Forgiveness but did not reduce the negative effects of Revenge, Avoidance, and Grudge Motivations. Study 4 examined the effect of attachment security priming on forgiveness of an experimentally manipulated transgression using real-life romantic couples in the lab. No effect of prime or transgression was identified. Methodological considerations are discussed. Study 5 examined forgiveness of daily transgressions over a 2-week period and assessed the effect of attachment security priming on forgiveness during this time. Security priming was effective in boosting forgiveness and reducing negative post-transgression responses over the 2-week period, but not at a 2-week follow up.
Overall, findings support a negative association between insecure attachment dimensions and forgiveness of relationship partners and highlight the unique role of fear and motivation. This thesis also demonstrates the first use of attachment security priming to boost forgiveness. These findings support the use of attachment theory as a framework for examining when and why we forgive.
Objective: Shame is a secondary self-conscious distressing emotion that can be evoked following experiences of failure. Research indicates potential gender differences in shame responses following failure however findings have been mixed. The current study examined whether gender-stereotypicality of a task was related to anticipated shame following task failure, and whether gender attitudes in mothers and children were related to anticipated shame.
Design: Mothers and their children completed measures assessing gender stereotyped attitudes. Children were then asked to read six short stories about failing a task (2 male-stereotyped, 2 female-stereotyped, 2 non-stereotyped). Following each story, children were asked to rate how much shame they would experience in the situation.
Participants: Participants were 28 mother-child dyads recruited from schools in London.
Results/Findings: ANOVA and correlational analysis were used to explore relationships between mother and child gender attitudes, and feelings of anticipated shame in response to gender-stereotyped and non-gender stereotyped failure. Results suggested a main effect of task, however associations between parent and child gender attitudes were inconsistent.
Conclusions/Implications: Mostly, the study hypotheses were not supported. Conceptual and methodological critiques are considered, such as validity of the concept of gender stereotyped tasks, task salience and measurement issues. Further research is needed to explore parent-child gender attitudes and the implications of these for the development of self-conscious emotions such as shame.
In Studies 1 (16-year-old girls) and 2 (female university students), participants carried out mental arithmetic tasks in the stereotype threat condition or control, crossed with interactivity or no interactivity. There was increased maths performance (accuracies) with interactivity, confirming existing literature. Additionally, the solution latencies were improved when the mental arithmetic tasks were in a known format. However, when the maths tasks were in a novel format, the participants of the second study became slower because of speed-accuracy trade-off. The first two studies found no statistically significant effects of stereotype threat on maths performance. Nevertheless, working memory in participants in Study 1 was depleted in the stereotype threat condition, but it did not affect mental arithmetic performance. Finally, the participants in the interactive conditions in Study 2 had a reduction of their state maths anxiety levels measured at the end of the experiment. Studies 3 (Pilot Study) and 4 focused on achievement goals and their differing effects on working memory. Female university students carried out modular arithmetic tasks in a performance-approach goal or mastery-approach goal condition crossed with interactivity or no interactivity. Performance-approach goal endorsement hampered cognitive performance, as measured by maths accuracy in Study 3, but not in Study 4. These findings were extended in Study 4 where these negative effects were reduced with the help of interactivity. Across both studies, individuals in the mastery-approach goal condition had a performance drop in the interactive condition (Study 3 and 4). Thus, interactivity did not benefit the cognitive performance of these participants. Finally, Study 4 reported higher maths anxiety levels for the individuals in the performance-approach condition. However, the increased maths anxiety levels were not reduced with the help of distributed cognition. Reasons for the findings and future implications will be discussed.