Black-White Differences on IQ and Grades: The Mediating Role of Elementary Cognitive Tasks

Bryan Pesta
Peter J. Poznanski, Cleveland State University


The relationship between IQ scores and elementary cognitive task (ECT) performance is well established, with variance on each largely reflecting the general factor of intelligence, or g. Also ubiquitous are Black-White mean differences on IQ and measures of academic success, like grade point average (GPA). Given C. Spearman's (Spearman, C. (1927). The Abilities of Man. New York: Macmillan) hypothesis that group differences vary directly with a test's g loading, we explored whether ECT performance could mediate Black-White IQ and GPA differences. Undergraduates (139 White and 40 Black) completed the Wonderlic Personnel Test, followed by inspection time and choice reaction time ECTs. Despite restriction of range, ECT performance completely mediated Black-White differences on IQ (d=0.45). Group differences on GPA (d=0.73), however, were larger and ECT performance did not mediate them. We discuss findings in light of Spearman's hypothesis.