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Effects of Stereotype Threat, Perceived Discrimination, and Examiner Race on Neuropsychological Performance: Simple as Black and White?

  • April D. Thames (a1), Charles H. Hinkin (a1) (a2), Desiree A. Byrd (a3), Robert M. Bilder (a1), Kimberley J. Duff (a4), Monica Rivera Mindt (a3) (a5), Alyssa Arentoft (a1) (a2) and Vanessa Streiff (a2)...

The purpose of the current study was to examine the predictive roles of stereotype threat and perceived discrimination and the mediating role of examiner-examinee racial discordance on neuropsychological performance in a non-clinical sample of African American and Caucasian individuals. Ninety-two African American (n = 45) and Caucasian (n = 47) adults were randomly assigned to either a stereotype threat or non-threat condition. Within each condition, participants were randomly assigned to either a same race or different race examiner. All participants underwent neuropsychological testing and completed a measure of perceived discrimination. African Americans in the stereotype threat condition performed significantly worse on global NP (Mz = −.30, 95% confidence interval [CI] [−0.07, −0.67] than African Americans in the non-threat condition (Mz = 0.09, CI [0.15, 0.33]. African Americans who reported high levels of perceived discrimination performed significantly worse on memory tests when tested by an examiner of a different race, Mz = −1.19, 95% CI [−1.78, −.54], than African Americans who were tested by an examiner of the same race, Mz = 0.24, 95% CI [−0.24, 0.72]. The current study underscores the importance of considering the role of contextual variables in neuropsychological performance, as these variables may obscure the validity of results among certain racial/ethnic groups. (JINS, 2013, 19, 1–10)

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Correspondence and reprint requests to: April D. Thames, Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, University of California Los Angeles, 740 Westwood Plaza C8-746, Los Angeles, CA 90095. E-mail:
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