Realism and Intensity in the Diagnostic Interview
With all clients to whom testing is a new and unfamiliar experience, and especially in developing country settings, examiners need to be acutely aware of the near-mythical power that clients attribute to professionals, and their fear that the decisions made by professionals will irreversibly affect their destiny. In countries that have had a history of customary racism, unfortunate resonances are set up if (as often happens) the tester is White and the client is Black.
Our neuropsychology research group's test manual ( Nell & T. Taylor, 1992), prepared for use with farm laborers in South Africa's Western Cape province, begins with this somber warning:
Although race relations on South African farms are better than they used to be, there are still very strong white-black power relations. A white examiner testing a black subject creates an unwilling replication of these relationships in a literal sense; a black tester, though ostensibly at a lesser social distance, is also in a powerful position and can also set up a master-servant relationship that inhibits responding and depresses performance level. (p. 10)
This bears reflection: Although we live in a post-Freudian age, transference is real, and is powerfully at work in every test situation. The manual continues: