Potential Publication Bias in the Stereotype Threat Literature: Comment on Nguyen and Ryan (2008)

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Stereotype threat is a widely cited psychological phenomenon with purported important real-world consequences. Reanalysis of data from the Nguyen and Ryan (2008) stereotype threat meta-analysis indicated the presence of small study effects in which the effect size for less precise studies was larger than the effect size for more precise studies. Four methods to adjust the meta-analysis effect size for potential publication bias produced divergent estimates, from essentially no change, to a 50% decrease, to a reduction of the estimated effect size to near zero. Caution is therefore warranted both for citing Nguyen and Ryan (2008) as evidence of a meaningful stereotype threat effect and for claiming that the stereotype threat effect size is negligible based on these adjustments, given that the detected small study effects might be due to unexplored moderators instead of publication bias.

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