Stereotype Threat Effects on the Raven Advanced Progressive Matrices Scores of African Americans1


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    We thank Gerald V. Barrett, Rosalie J. Hall, Daniel Svyantek, Dianne Brown-Wright, and James D. Johnson for helpful comments on earlier drafts of this article. This paper is based in part on the first author's doctoral dissertation, conducted under the supervision of Dennis Doverspike at the University of Akron. An earlier version of the manuscript was presented at the 14th Annual Conference of the Society for Industrial/Organizational Psychology, Atlanta, Georgia, May 1, 1999.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Patrick F. McKay, who is now at the School of Business Administration, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, P.O. Box 742, Milwaukee, WI 53201. E-mail:


The present experiment examined stereotype threat effects on the Raven Advanced Progressive Matrices (Raven) scores of African Americans. Support was found for Hypothesis 1, which stated that African Americans would experience significantly greater stereotype threat than Whites during an IQ testing situation. Hypothesis 2 proposed that a significant Race x Test Diagnosticity Condition interaction would occur in which the mean difference in intelligence test scores between African Americans and Whites (favoring the latter group) would be largest when the test was framed as a measure of intelligence, and smaller when framed as nonindicative of intelligence. Limited support for Hypothesis 2 was found in that a marginally significant Race x Test Diagnosticity Condition interaction was obtained. However, the interaction failed to reach conventional levels of statistical significance. Although preliminary, the present findings provide some support for the notion that stereotype threat compromises the intelligence test performance of African Americans.