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Thesis

The potential effects of stereotype threat on neuropsychological test performance of African Americans: A literature review

12 December 2003

Abstract

Stereotype Threat Theory has emerged as an important hypothesis in the elucidation of group differences in cognitive and intellectual test performance. The author conducted a literature review on stereotype threat theory, and reviewed recent literature concerning neuropsychological testing of African Americans. Review of the stereotype threat literature indicated that ability tests elicit special performance demands and activate relevant cultural stereotypes, which tend to suppress performance oftest-takers for whom those stereotypes are relevant. In general, research on neuropsychological test performance of African Americans support the presence of significant group differences on these tests. Moreover, this literature suggests presence of a multiplicity of factors in the etiology of these group differences. Currently, the precise effects of stereotype threat on neuropsychological test performance are not known. Research is needed to help (1) clarify questions concerning the validity of stereotype threat theory in the domain of neuropsychology and (2) elucidate reasons for group differences on neuropsychological test performance


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