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Journal Article: Relating test-taking attitudes and skills and stereotype threat effects to the racial gap in cognitive ability test performance

Journal Article » Relating test-taking attitudes and skills and stereotype threat effects to the racial gap in cognitive ability test performance


Cognitive Ability, Racial and Ethnic Differences, Stereotyped, Attitudes, Test Taking, Threat, Blacks, Cognitions, College, Students, Emotionality (Personality), Motivation, Performance, Stereotyped Behavior, Student Attitudes, Whites


Nguyen, Hannah-Hanh D.; O'Neal, Alisha; Ryan, Ann Marie




This research extended past studies on race effects and stereotype threat (ST) effects outside the academic domain, as well as exploring the mediating role of test-related cognition, motivation, and emotionality in the Black-White cognitive ability test performance differences. One hundred seventy-two undergraduates took a simulated personnel selection test and responded to measures of attitudinal and test-taking skills prior to and after the test. Half of the participants were told that the test provided the hypothetical employer diagnostic information about their reasoning abilities and limitations; they were also asked to report their racial status prior to taking the test. Significant race differences favoring Whites were found for mathematical and logical performance, holding ability constant. A metacognitive strategy, regulation of cognition, partially mediated race effects on mathematical and verbal performance. Contrary to previous findings, no traditional significant ST effects were found; however, a 3-way interaction revealed that proficiency in test-taking strategies mitigated the Black-White mathematical score gap to a greater extent for those in the ST condition. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2009 APA ) (journal abstract)