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Citation and Abstract
On Interpreting Stereotype Threat as Accounting for African American-White Differences on Cognitive Tests.
Sackett, Paul R.; Hardison, Chaitra M.; Cullen, Michael J.
American Psychologist, Vol 59(1), Jan 2004, 7-13.
[Correction Notice: An erratum for this article was reported in Vol 59(3) of American Psychologist (see record 2007-16713-001). The descriptive blurb appearing in the January 2004 issue of the American Psychologist (AP) concerning an article by Paul R. Sackett, Chaitra M. Hardison, and Michael J. Cullen entitled "On Interpreting Stereotype Threat as Accounting for African American-White Differences on Cognitive Tests" included several phrases that might have given the erroneous impression that Sackett et al. show stereotype threat to have no role in explaining African American-White differences on tests. Descriptive blurbs appear only in the table of contents of AP and are not part of the official archival article, nor do they appear in the electronic versions of the article. They are used in the printed version of AP to generate reader interest in the article itself. An improved blurb would read: When their race is made salient to them and they are given a difficult test, high-ability African American students perform more poorly than otherwise. This previously demonstrated "stereotype threat" effect may not, however, be the complete explanation for large African American-White differences on tests. This fact, the authors show, has been missed by a number of writers of media, textbooks, and scholarly reports.] C. M. Steele and J. Aronson (1995) showed that making race salient when taking a difficult test affected the performance of high-ability African American students, a phenomenon they termed stereotype threat. The authors document that this research is widely misinterpreted in both popular and scholarly publications as showing that eliminating stereotype threat eliminates the African American-White difference in test performance. In fact, scores were statistically adjusted for differences in students' prior SAT performance, and thus, Steele and Aronson's findings actually showed that absent stereotype threat, the two groups differ to the degree that would be expected based on differences in prior SAT scores. The authors caution against interpreting the Steele and Aronson experiment as evidence that stereotype threat is the primary cause of African American-White differences in test performance. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)