Date of Award

May 2020

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

David C Osmon

Committee Members

David C Osmon, Christine L Larson, Susan D Lima


reaction time, stereotype threat, thought suppression


Stereotype threat (ST) has been established as a leading theory through which investigators have come to understand and account for discrepancies in performance between stereotyped and non-stereotyped groups. ST has been demonstrated to be a plausible explanation for such discrepant performances favoring White over Black respondents in IQ tests and Black over White respondents in tests of athleticism. The present study was designed to address several gaps in the literature. The current study used ex-Gaussian parameters on traditional simple and two-choice reaction time (RT) tasks of mental ‘speed’ in place of ‘power’ measures to address the confound between threat and task difficulty. While results were under-powered, findings suggest interesting but nonsignificant differences in ‘speed’ tasks warranting further study of the effects in Black IQ and White Athleticism ST. Black IQ-threat comparisons found nonsignificant slowing in RT with fewer attentional lapses while the opposite pattern was found in the White Athletic-threat condition. Additionally, Lexical Decision Task results found partial nonsignificant findings that warrant further study of a thought suppression interpretation of ST effects. Interesting results in the current investigation call for fully powered study of both a double-dissociation between Black-IQ and White-Athleticism ST and the thought suppression mechanism of ST.