Date of Award

8-1-2013

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Komarraju, Meera

Abstract

This study examined the effects of framing on participant interest and retention of diversity-related material. In this study, 204 students from undergraduate psychology courses across two universities read a vignette about Kenneth and Mamie Clark. The vignette was presented in the context of one of four frames that either highlighted or did not highlight their minority status and/or their status as leaders in their field. After reading the vignette, students responded to 13 items measuring recall of the material figures and 11 items assessing their interest in these figures. Participants also responded to the Scale of Ethnocultural Empathy (SEE), Modern Racism Scale (MRS), and Color-Blind Racial Attitudes Scale (CoBRAS). The data found in the present study provided varying levels of support for the hypotheses. The effects were stronger for Illinois participants, which may be due to the larger sample size collected and/or the greater diversity of the school population. These results bring to light an interesting potential area of future research that could eventually impact school curricula. It is possible that a better understanding of effective methods for engaging students in discussions of diversity may be around the corner. Participant race, gender, location, and major all had varying degrees of an effect on the results, indicating that, like many other topics in psychology, understanding how people react to diversity discussions is not simply black and white.

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