STEP 4 Review the Knowledge You Need to Score High
Racial differences in IQ scores show African Americans, Native Americans, and Hispanic Americans typically scoring 10 to 15 points below the mean for white children. When comparing groups of people on any construct, such as intelligence, it is important to keep in mind the concept of within-group differences and between-group differences. The range of scores within a particular group, such as Hispanic Americans, is much greater than the difference between the mean scores of two different groups, such as Hispanic Americans and Asian Americans. According to Leon Kamin, even if heritability is high, differences in average IQ between groups could be caused entirely by environmental factors. Neither of these statistics tells us how any one individual will score. The difference between the mean scores could result from socioeconomic differences.
Groups such as African Americans, Native Americans, Latinos, women, the elderly, and the economically disadvantaged are often stereotyped. Stereotypes are overgeneralized beliefs about the characteristics of members of a particular group, schema that are used to quickly judge others. Claude Steele hypothesized that members of stereotyped groups begin to doubt themselves and fear they will fulfill their group’s negative stereotype. This anxiety interferes with their performance on tests, lowering their scores. This stereotype threat, anxiety that influences members of a group concerned that their performance on a test will confirm a negative stereotype, has been evidenced in studies by Steele, Joshua Aronson, and many others.