The influence of intergroup comparisons on Africans' intelligence performance in a job selection context
This experiment focused on stereotype threat amongst residents of Belgium with sub-Saharan African origins in the context of a job interview setting. African adults who had lived in Belgium at least 5 years were recruited to complete a relatively culturally-unbiased test commonly used in job selection. The description of the test provided by an African experimenter was varied between conditions. Individuals were told that "compared to Belgians, very few Africans have performed well on it" (stereotype threat), that "the number of Africans who have performed well on this test exceeds the number of Belgians" (stereotype lift), or that "there are as many Africans as Belgians who have performed well on this test" (no difference). In a separate condition, no group differences in performance were mentioned (control). Performance was poorest in the stereotype threat condition, and individuals in this condition were more likely to agree with items asking whether they had been given too little time or information, that they were tired or distracted, or that the test was not appropriate given their nationality. Stereotype threat thus produced self-handicapping and disparagement of the test instrument. These results reveal negative effects of stereotype threat in an understudied population using an instrument commonly used in job selection in Belgium.