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stereotype threat consequences vulnerable situations mechanisms reduce criticisms unresolved issues
Ployhart, Ziegert, & McFarland, 2003

This study examined stereotype threat in a simulated selection exercise so that stereotype threat and face validity both could be manipulated. Black and White college undergraduates completed a test to "understand how to select people for retail managerial positions" and that the top 15% of performers would receive $20. Before beginning the test, students were told that it was diagnostic of intelligence (stereotype threat for Blacks), a good indicator of "skills as a retail manager" (non-diagnostic), or that the test was difficult (control). The test itself was either high or low in face validity (i.e., problems were either framed in terms that would be appropriate for a retail manager or were framed in a way where the link to retail management was tenuous). Overall, performance was higher for Whites than for Blacks, and higher in the control than in the diagnostic condition. Race did not interaction with diagnosticity, as would be predicted by stereotype threat theory. However, an analysis focusing only students highly identified with their race did produce an effect consistent with stereotype threat. Specifically, Blacks scored best in the control condition when the test was low in face validity. When the test was high in face validity, however, Blacks scored best in the non-diagnostic condition.  When the test was low in face validity and students were told just that the test was difficult, performance of Black students as good as Whites. When the test was high in face validity, however, Blacks performed best if intelligence was not mentioned. These findings suggest that Blacks might assume that face valid tests are diagnostic unless they are assured to the contrary. Correlational analyses indicated that differences in perceptions of threat influence face validity perceptions, motivation, and anxiety, and these factors partially mediated performance under stereotype threat.

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