Title of Abstract

The Role of Youth Race, Stereotype Acceptance, and Aggression on Perceptions of School Altercations

Poster Number

52

Faculty Mentor

Merry Sleigh, Ph.D.; sleighm@winthrop.edu

College

College of Arts and Sciences

Department

Psychology

Faculty Mentor

Merry Sleigh, Ph.D.

Abstract

Two decades of research have shown that compared to their Caucasian peers, African American students experience more severe punishments during their K-12 school years. We examined adult perceptions of a school altercation, varying the age and race of the children. We hypothesized that the African American child would be perceived more negatively than the Hispanic child, and the Caucasian child would be perceived more positively than both minority children. Participants (n = 114) were randomly assigned to one of three conditions. All three conditions described a fight between two boys and then between two adolescents. The only element that varied between the conditions was whether the accused student was African American, Caucasian, or Hispanic. Participants provided their perceptions of the situation and the students involved. Participants then responded to scales to measure aggression, impulsivity, and stereotyped thinking. Contrary to our hypothesis, our participants viewed the accused Caucasian child and adolescent more negatively than their peers and felt the accused African American child was likely to have been provoked. This change from previous research may reflect a recent societal focus on racial inequality. In fact, our participants, across race and gender, showed very low levels of stereotypical thinking. We also found that adults who reported more anger, hostility, and impulsivity were more frustrated by and less confident about how to interpret the altercation. School staff members with these characteristics may be more vulnerable to making emotional decisions rather than those in the best interest of the students.

Additional Fields About Your Abstract

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Course Assignment

MCNR 300 - Fortner-Wood

Other Presentations/Performances

National Association of African American Studies Conference, Virtual, February 2021 Winthrop McNair Summer Research Symposium, Virtual, June 2020

Grant Support

McNair Scholars Program

Recognized with an Award?

Pansy E. Jacobs Jackson National Student Research Competition Winner, awarded on February 20th, 2021 by the National Association of African American Studies

Start Date

16-4-2021 3:00 PM

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Apr 16th, 3:00 PM

The Role of Youth Race, Stereotype Acceptance, and Aggression on Perceptions of School Altercations

Two decades of research have shown that compared to their Caucasian peers, African American students experience more severe punishments during their K-12 school years. We examined adult perceptions of a school altercation, varying the age and race of the children. We hypothesized that the African American child would be perceived more negatively than the Hispanic child, and the Caucasian child would be perceived more positively than both minority children. Participants (n = 114) were randomly assigned to one of three conditions. All three conditions described a fight between two boys and then between two adolescents. The only element that varied between the conditions was whether the accused student was African American, Caucasian, or Hispanic. Participants provided their perceptions of the situation and the students involved. Participants then responded to scales to measure aggression, impulsivity, and stereotyped thinking. Contrary to our hypothesis, our participants viewed the accused Caucasian child and adolescent more negatively than their peers and felt the accused African American child was likely to have been provoked. This change from previous research may reflect a recent societal focus on racial inequality. In fact, our participants, across race and gender, showed very low levels of stereotypical thinking. We also found that adults who reported more anger, hostility, and impulsivity were more frustrated by and less confident about how to interpret the altercation. School staff members with these characteristics may be more vulnerable to making emotional decisions rather than those in the best interest of the students.