Publication Date


Degree Program

Department of Psychology

Degree Type

Master of Arts


Cognitive ability testing is utilized by many organizations in the selection process. Historically, cognitive ability testing has resulted in group differences in scores, particularly between Caucasians and African-Americans. Such group differences can result in adverse impact. This impact can lead to legal ramifications for the organization utilizing the cognitive ability test. The present study examined ten factors to determine their relationship to the findings of the courts in cases involving cognitive ability tests. The factors examined were gender of the plaintiff, reason for the lawsuit, workplace setting, group or individual plaintiffs, standardadized versus unstandardized tests, validation of the tests, development in-house or by a consultant, other test involvement, jury versus summary judgment, and the verdict of the court. As hypothesized, courts tend to rule in favor of defendants when the cognitive ability test in question has been properly validated. The majority of the plaintiffs were members of a minority group, and the number of race-based discrimination court cases was significantly greater than the number of gender-based discrimination court cases. Only one court case was included in the study that had utilized a jury; no determination of jury versus judge rulings could be made.


Law | Litigation | Psychology