Clearing the air: the effect of experimenter race on target's test performance and subjective experience

Br J Soc Psychol. 2005 Dec;44(Pt 4):645-57. doi: 10.1348/014466604X17948.


According to stereotype threat theory (Steele, 1997), stereotyped targets under-perform on challenging tests, in part because they are worried about being viewed in terms of the negative stereotype that they are intellectually inferior. How then are the negative effects of stereotype threat reduced for stereotyped targets? To examine this issue, a study was conducted to investigate whether stereotype threat's adverse effects are reduced when a Black experimenter administers a verbal test to Black participants. We further examined the question of whether Black participants have a subjective awareness of stereotype threat. Results showed that when a Black experimenter gave a verbal test to Black participants, they did not suffer the typical performance decrements associated with stereotype threat. Additionally, results supported the hypothesis that Black participants have conscious access to the experience of stereotype threat and that this effect is partially mediated by their endorsement of the stereotype.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • African Americans / psychology*
  • European Continental Ancestry Group / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Intelligence Tests*
  • Stereotyping*