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Word Associations of Students at Predominantly White and Predominantly Black Colleges GRE GREB

Belcher, Leon H.; Campbell, Joel T.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Bulletin
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
Graduate Record Examinations Board, Association (Psychology), Black Students, College Students, Graduate Record Examinations (GRE), Racial Differences, Verbal Stimuli, White Students


This study compared word association responses for college students in three geographic areas from four different kinds of colleges: (1) selective predominantly White colleges; (2) less selective predominantly White colleges; (3) selective predominantly Black colleges; and (4) less selective predominantly Black colleges. Stimulus words were chosen from those used in Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) verbal analogy and antonym items. Responses were tabulated separately by sex. There were a few words which evoked different responses from males and females, but geographic area apparently made no difference. A few stimulus words mostly related to the "Black experience" evoked different association patterns from students at predominantly Black and predominantly White colleges but most stimulus words yielded similar response patterns from both kinds of college. There was a comparatively high level of "no response" for those stimulus words with a Thorndike-Lorge word frequency count of nine or fewer per million counted words. This most frequently happened at the non-selective colleges and particularly at the predominantly Black non-selective colleges. It was hypothesized that most often this occurred because the student was not acquainted with the word. A number of responses seemed to come from the student having mistaken the stimulus word for one of similar appearance. (Author/RC) (124pp.)

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