If you’re acting stupid because you’re a stoner, you might just be playing to type. That is, it may be your expectations about marijuana’s long-term cognitive effects — rather than any real effect of the drug itself — that is to blame, particularly if you’re male, according to new research. The study, which was published in the journal Addictive Behaviors, explored the effect of “stereotype threat” — the idea that performance is affected by conventional images of minorities — on marijuana smokers.
Earlier studies of stereotype threat have found that when African Americans are asked to identify themselves by race before being tested, they tend to score worse than blacks who weren’t reminded of their race — in line with racist stereotypes about blacks doing poorly in school.
Explains study co-author Mitch Earleywine, professor of psychology at the University of Albany–SUNY: “The bottom line is if you get folks into the lab and prime them about the minority group they’re in, they tend to behave consistent with the stereotype. With Asian women, if you bring them in and say, ‘Oh, you’re a chick, you can’t do math,’ they tend to do lousy. But if you say, ‘Oh, you’re an Asian,’ they do well.”