This paper reports a study in which Black students
completed a difficult task with either a Black or White
experimenter. The task was described as testing
for either eye-hand coordination or intelligence. When the experimenter was White, the students performed
significantly worse when the task was described as a
test of intelligence. The opposite pattern was
shown with a Black experimenter, so that performance was
better when the task supposedly required intelligence.
This study was the first to show that task performance
could be reduced by invoking racial stereotypes and
foreshadowed the later work on stereotype threat. By demonstrating situational variation in
performance, the results also challenged the view of
stable racial differences in intelligence.
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