Study: Barack Obama, African-American Intelligence and Stereotype Threat

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Study: Barack Obama, African-American Intelligence and Stereotype Threat

The article quoted:

The press release:

In the study made public on Thursday, Dr. Friedman and his colleagues compiled a brief test, drawing 20 questions from the verbal sections of the Graduate Record Exam, and administering it four times to about 120 white and black test-takers during last year’s presidential campaign.

In total, 472 Americans — 84 blacks and 388 whites — took the exam. Both white and black test-takers ranged in age from 18 to 63, and their educational attainment ranged from high school dropout to Ph.D.

On the initial test last summer, whites on average correctly answered about 12 of 20 questions, compared with about 8.5 correct answers for blacks, Dr. Friedman said. But on the tests administered immediately after Mr. Obama’s nomination acceptance speech, and just after his election victory, black performance improved, rendering the white-black gap “statistically nonsignificant,” he said.


I look forward to seeing their methodology, unfortunately the study is not yet published.

Stereotype threat seems obviously true to me, having taken a lot of standardized tests and knowing that psychological state of mind and confidence matters. That said 20 points is a lot and the verbal section of the Graduate Records Exam is not an IQ test.

If their results nailed the truth, it not only drives yet another nail in the coffin of Charles Murray type of positions; it would also mean that a population which grows up with fewer opportunities, goes on average to less well-funded schools, etc has exactly the same emergent analytical skills, and that confidence is 100% of the difference.


Wow, nobody else finds the issue of stereotype threat to be important. I guess not many have experiences with standardized tests.


I recall a similar study where there were different groups of students and I think some were told that statistically black students did poorly on the test and other groups were not told that, or something along those lines.  In any event, the black students that were told they would do poorly, did worse, on average, than the other black students. Not sure whether this has been repeated on other races.  You could also test it on income levels.