Event Title

The Effect of Race and Gender on Perceived Beneficiaries and Attitudes about Affirmative Action

Poster Number

36

Presenter Information

Malyn Pope, Winthrop University

Faculty Mentor

Merry Sleigh, Ph.D.

College

College of Arts and Sciences

Department

Psychology

Location

Richardson Ballroom

Start Date

24-4-2015 3:20 PM

End Date

24-4-2015 4:50 PM

Description

Caucasian and African-American adults (n = 85) were asked to imagine themselves as the directors of a scholarship program and to rank two sets of four fictitious scholarship applicants after being instructed that affirmative action (AA) was important to the program. In the first scenario, the four applicants varied in race (Caucasian and African-American) and gender; however, their qualifications were equivalent. In the second scenario, the four applicants varied in race and gender; however, the qualifications of the African-American candidates were lower than those of the Caucasian candidates. Participants also completed a knowledge test and an attitude survey about AA. Results revealed that people tended to (sometimes unfairly) support their own race but not their own gender when making decisions in the context of an AA policy. Knowledge about AA was relatively low in young adults, while attitudes about AA were generally positive. In contrast to our hypothesis, knowledge did not predict attitudes. African-American participants were more likely than Caucasians to agree that people are discriminated against and that they had been discriminated against. Women were more likely than men to agree that people are discriminated against and that they had experienced discrimination. Ironically, when participants were asked if people are “treated unfairly” instead of “discriminated against,” there were no group differences, suggesting that participants might not connect these two ideas. In sum, our data revealed some misunderstandings of AA implementation. Young adults may benefit from AA education and, because of their positive attitudes, may be receptive to such education.

Comments

Presented at the Southeastern Psychological Association (SEPA) Annual Meeting, March 2015

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Apr 24th, 3:20 PM Apr 24th, 4:50 PM

The Effect of Race and Gender on Perceived Beneficiaries and Attitudes about Affirmative Action

Richardson Ballroom

Caucasian and African-American adults (n = 85) were asked to imagine themselves as the directors of a scholarship program and to rank two sets of four fictitious scholarship applicants after being instructed that affirmative action (AA) was important to the program. In the first scenario, the four applicants varied in race (Caucasian and African-American) and gender; however, their qualifications were equivalent. In the second scenario, the four applicants varied in race and gender; however, the qualifications of the African-American candidates were lower than those of the Caucasian candidates. Participants also completed a knowledge test and an attitude survey about AA. Results revealed that people tended to (sometimes unfairly) support their own race but not their own gender when making decisions in the context of an AA policy. Knowledge about AA was relatively low in young adults, while attitudes about AA were generally positive. In contrast to our hypothesis, knowledge did not predict attitudes. African-American participants were more likely than Caucasians to agree that people are discriminated against and that they had been discriminated against. Women were more likely than men to agree that people are discriminated against and that they had experienced discrimination. Ironically, when participants were asked if people are “treated unfairly” instead of “discriminated against,” there were no group differences, suggesting that participants might not connect these two ideas. In sum, our data revealed some misunderstandings of AA implementation. Young adults may benefit from AA education and, because of their positive attitudes, may be receptive to such education.