The Wonderlic Test for the NFL Draft: Linking Stereotype Threat and the Law
41 Pages Posted: 3 Oct 2006
Date Written: 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.
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