Superior test performance: Reasserting group dominance under threat of competition from outgroup members
This dissertation reports on research that examined the effects of the race of a test administrator, White vs Black, on the intellectual test performance of White participants. In a pilot and two main studies, White undergraduate students were administered a 20-question, multiple-choice intellectual ability test by a Black or a White experimenter. In the pilot study, participants either expected or did not expect to receive feedback on their performance. In addition, participants' attitudes toward Blacks were assessed. Results indicated that participants tested by a Black experimenter outperformed those tested by a White experimenter. Also, the less positive participants' attitudes toward Blacks were, the better they tended to perform on the ability test. Expectation of receiving feedback did not affect participants' performance on the ability test. Study One examined the possible moderating role of hierarchy-endorsing attitudes (i.e., social dominance orientation) in the effects of the race of a test administrator. Results demonstrated that, replicating the results of the pilot study, participants tested by a Black experimenter outperformed those tested by a White experimenter. This effect was moderated by social dominance orientation, such that the tendency to perform well in the presence of a Black experimenter was especially evident among higher social dominance oriented participants. Again, the expectation of receiving feedback did not affect participants' ability test performance. Study Two tested the proposition that an opportunity for affirmation of Whites' high intellectual ability prior to taking the intellectual ability test would eliminate their tendency to perform better in the presence of a Black experimenter. The results were consistent with this proposition. When no opportunity for group affirmation was provided, participants tested by a Black experimenter performed significantly better on the ability test than did those tested by a White experimenter. In contrast, when an opportunity for group affirmation of Whites' intellectual ability was provided, there was no significant difference between participants tested by a Black experimenter and those tested by a White experimenter, and the pattern of results was, in fact, reversed. The findings are interpreted in terms of perceived threat of competition from minority group members and the motivation of majority, or dominant, group members to maintain their group dominance. Implications of these findings for intellectual test performance differences between minority and majority group members are discussed.
Danso, Henry A., "Superior test performance: Reasserting group dominance under threat of competition from outgroup members" (2002). Psychology Educator Scholarship. 45.