An investigation of stereotype threat in employment tests

Jean Powell Kirnan, Julie Ann Alfieri, Jennifer Denicolis Bragger, Robert Sean Harris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


This investigation extends stereotype threat research by examining its effect on sex and ethnicity in employment testing. Study 1 used archival data from a company-specific cognitive ability test, demonstrating score increases (greater for some minorities) when applicants completed demographic items after a cognitive skills test, rather than before the test. The first experiment (Study 2) used college students taking the same company-specific test with inconclusive results. Possible reasons dictated the design of a second experiment with a college population (Study 3). This study used the Wonderlic Personnel Test (WPT) and investigated priming through positioning of demographic items, as well as high/low threat. Positioning of the demographic items after the WPT was associated with an increase in test scores.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)359-388
Number of pages30
JournalJournal of Applied Social Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2009


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