Web Exercises

  1. Social Psychology in the News. Racial protests on American college campuses received new attention in 2015. Examples of protestors’ demands appear at http://chronicle.com/blogs/ticker/students-are-protesting-racism-on-college-campuses-what-are-their-demands/106721. How do these demands reflect a response to potential institutional discrimination? Illustrate your response with three examples from the article. Stories of personal experiences with racism on college campuses appear at http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/18/us/racism-on-campus-stories-from-new-york-times-readers.html?_r=0. Select three stories from the article; use each story to define one of the following concepts: a) “old-fashioned” racism; b) modern racism; c) aversive racism; d) institutional discrimination; e) microinsult; f) microassault; and g) microinvalidation. Be sure to define the concept you are illustrating in each instance. How do you think institutions of higher learning might counteract racism on their campuses? In your response, draw on your textbook’s discussion of overcoming prejudice and discrimination. This exercise develops your ability to apply such concepts as modern racism, aversive racism, microaggression, and institutional discrimination. It also provides an opportunity for you to consider how we might reduce intergroup conflict.
  2. You may be familiar with the acronym “LGBT.” The acronym stands for “lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender.” It is intended to emphasize a diversity of sexuality and gender identity-based cultures and is used to refer to anyone who does not identify as heterosexual or cisgender. Learn more about the historical development of the acronym at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT.Very recently, a small movement has arisen to “drop the T” from the acronym. The movement has both transgender (http://metro.co.uk/2015/04/06/why-its-time-to-remove-the-t-from-lgbt-5116737/) and lesbian, gay, and bisexual supporters (https://www.change.org/p/human-rights-campaign-glaad-lambda-legal-the-advocate-out-magazine-huffpost-gay-voices-drop-the-t). The movement also has detractors: http://www.advocate.com/transgender/2015/11/06/lgbt-groups-respond-petition-asking-drop-t and http://www.lambdalegal.org/blog/20151120_tdor-why-the-t-matters. Draw on a) social identity theory and its concepts of ingroup and outgroup and b) optimal distinctiveness theory to explain the expansion and, now, the potential contraction of the LGB acronym. Which arguments do you find more persuasive: those advocating including the “T,” or those favoring excluding it? Why? This exercise affords an opportunity to apply social identity theory and to define ingroup and outgroup,
  3. Doing Research. Explain how prejudice is an example of an attitude. Distinguish between explicit and implicit attitudes and illustrate the distinction with examples related to prejudice. Describe the implicit associations test (IAT) and briefly explain how it works. On a smartphone or tablet, visit https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/user/agg/blindspot/tablet.htm to take the Implicit Associations Test, a measure of implicit racial bias. If you prefer to use a computer, visit https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/. Participate as a guest and click the “Go!” button. Click “I wish to proceed” after reading the information on the next page. Select the Race IAT from the menu on the following page. Summarize the explanations of implicit racial bias offered at the end of the test. What were your results? Were you surprised by your results? Why or why not? Do you think the test is valid? Why or why not? How might whether you “like” or “dislike” the results affect how you assess the IAT’s validity? This exercise allows you to define prejudice. It also helps you explain the IAT, how it works, and what it intends to measure.
  4. Read the article at http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2015/11/plight-of-the-funny-female/416559/. Is the notion that women are not as funny as men a stereotype? Why or why not? Is it an example of a prejudice? Why or why not? Is this notion best seen as an example of hostile sexism, benevolent sexism, or ambivalent sexism? Justify your answer with reference to how these are defined in your text. Evaluate the idea that women are less humorous than men in light of the empirical evidence offered in the article. Contrast evolutionary and sociocultural accounts of potential gender differences in humor. Define stereotype threat and suggest how it may contribute to the potential female “humor deficit.” This exercise provides practice in distinguishing between a stereotype and prejudice, identifying types of sexism, and in defining stereotype threat.
  5. Social Psychology Applied to Work: Microaggressions; Social Psychology, Social Media, and Technology. Define microaggression. List the three types of microaggression described in your textbook and provide one example of each. Visit the Microaggressions Project site at http://www.microaggressions.com/. Select three of the microaggressions posted on the site—one from each of three identity classes (e.g., race, sexual orientation, class, religion, etc.; these are identified by a “tag” symbol at the bottom of each post). State how each is an example of a microaggression and classify it using the taxonomy provided in your textbook. Finally, visit the project’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/microaggressions/. Read one of the articles posted on the page and post a thoughtful comment. Print it out and hand in your comment with your assignment.
  6. Social Psychology in the News. According to one recent poll, more than half of Americans oppose admitting Syrian refugees (54%, see http://time.com/4122938/refugees-syria-america-poll/). For potential explanations of Americans’ reluctance to accept Syrian refugees, read the Livescience piece at http://www.livescience.com/52240-psychology-of-migrant-crisis.html and the Psychology Today article at https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/presence-mind/201511/explaining-americans-reluctance-accept-syrian-refugees. Additionally, read the article at http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/6-extreme-responses-the-syrian-refugee-crisis for a description of several extreme responses to the prospect of Syrian refugees entering the United States. How does the opposition to admitting Syrian refugees reflect social identity theory? Make explicit reference to the distinction between ingroups and outgroups in your answer. How might the concepts of outgroup homogeneity and the ultimate attribution error contribute to a negative view of Syrian refugees? Might the notion of realistic competition also influence prejudice toward Syrian refugees? If so,how? The Psychology Today article suggests that terror management theory and the idea of mortality salience might explain Americans’ feelings toward Syrian migrants. Explain how individual differences in right-wing authoritarianism (RWA) and social dominance orientation (SDO) might underlie different people’s responses to mortality salience and therefore to the refugees themselves. Describe how specific aspects of RWA and SDO are reflected in the extreme responses to Syrian refugees described on the msnbc.com page. This exercise develops your ability to explain social identity theory and to define ingroups and outgroups as well as the outgroup homogeneity effect. It also builds your understanding of how the ultimate attribution error, social dominance orientation, and right-wing authoritarianism relate to prejudice.