Publication Date


Document Type


Committee Members

Debra Steele-Johnson (Advisor)

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


This research compared the efficacy of a cognitive ability test and two types of job knowledge tests for predicting job performance. Further, I examined job knowledge as a mechanism through which cognitive ability affects performance. Finally, I examined both types of tests relative to specific propositions from stereotype threat theory. Specifically, I examined the propositions that perceptions of the tests may cause mean score differences between Blacks and Whites and compared the effects of test perceptions relative to both test types. Results demonstrated that job knowledge accounted for significantly more variance in task performance than cognitive ability. Furthermore, job knowledge completely mediated the effects of cognitive ability on performance. However, stereotype threat theory's proposed test perceptions failed to account for mean test score differences between the two groups. Rather, Blacks' misperceptions relative to what each test was designed to measure was found to be detrimental for test performance. Also, regardless of what the test was designed to measure, Blacks still perceived both types of tests as (stereotype) threatening.

Page Count


Department or Program

Department of Psychology

Year Degree Awarded