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The Wonderlic Test for the NFL Draft: Linking Stereotype Threat and the Law

Michael McCann

University of New Hampshire School of Law; Sports Illustrated and SI.com; Mississippi College School of Law

October 1, 2006

This paper examines the law and social psychology of the "Wonderlic Personnel Test" ("the Wonderlic") administered to prospective National Football League ("NFL") players. It specifically examines whether "stereotype threat" is apparent among players taking the Wonderlic, and the potential legal implications of such a finding.

Stereotype threat reflects the behavioral effects that result from an individual's belief and fear that his actions will confirm a negative stereotype of a group to which he belongs. Stereotype threat typically manifests in anxiety, which can impair performance and trigger a self-fulfilling prophecy: because of stress related to his or her group membership, the person underperforms, thereby unintentionally corroborating the underlying group stereotype.

With recent empirical data indicating that the Wonderlic is not predictive of NFL performance, the potential presence of stereotype threat among football players taking the Wonderlic invites a wide-range of legal and social questions.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 41

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Date posted: October 3, 2006  

Suggested Citation

McCann, Michael, The Wonderlic Test for the NFL Draft: Linking Stereotype Threat and the Law (October 1, 2006). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=934307 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.934307

Contact Information

Michael A. McCann (Contact Author)
University of New Hampshire School of Law ( email )
Franklin Pierce Center for Intellectual Property
2 White Street
Concord, NH 03301
603.513.5254 (Phone)
HOME PAGE: http://law.unh.edu/about/personnel/faculty/michael-mccann
Sports Illustrated and SI.com
1271 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10020
United States
HOME PAGE: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/writers/michael_mccann/archive/index.html
Mississippi College School of Law
151 East Griffith Street
Jackson, MS 39157
HOME PAGE: http://law.mc.edu/faculty/profile_mccann.htm
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