Social Psychology Discussion Question
Please respond to the following prompts/guiding questions.
There is no minimum or maximum in terms of word limit, but please use your sound judgement in ensuring you have done enough to sufficiently, accurately, and appropriately address the prompts.
Please be sure to support/defend your claims and statements with evidence from the textbook and/or other sources and incorporate psychological terms, theories, and concepts when appropriate.
Remember, the goal is to facilitate meaningful dialogue here. I encourage you to ask your classmates questions when responding to them, rather than simply “great response” or “I agree”. Challenge and help one another to dig deeper and engage in critical discourse. Although I am not requiring responses, the back and forth exchange of ideas really helps to create a rich learning environment.
Please choose four (4) sets from below in which to respond:
Set 1 – Question Pertaining to Derek Bell, Brown, and Interest-Convergence:
1) What did you learn from this particular reading? How does it relate to Prejudice, Racism, and Discrimination and/or the intersection of psychology and law/politics/policy-making? How does it contribute to our understanding of human motivation and power?
Set 2 – Questions pertaining to the Clark & Clark Doll Studies (1947), McLaurin vs. Oklahoma, & Brown vs. Board of Education:
1) What are your overall thoughts about the Kenneth and Mamie Clark Doll Studies and these major legal cases?
2) How does the notion of “interest-convergence” apply to the McLaurin vs. Oklahoma and Brown vs. Board of Education cases ?
Set 3 – Questions Pertaining to Maragret E. Montoya (1994) – Mascaras, Trenzas, y Greñas: Un/Masking the Self While Un/Braiding Latina Stories and Legal Discourse:
1) What did you understand/learn from Mascaras, Trenzas, y Greñas? How do the concepts/ideas derived from the article relate to Identity, Prejudice, and Discrimination? Are there any other psychological concepts/ideas that are present/that you identify within this reading?
2) What is the concept of “masking” as presented by Montoya?
3) What do the braids represent in Mascaras, Trenzas, y Greñas?
Set 4 – Questions Pertaining to the Intersectionality of Identity, Privilege, and Oppression
1) What are some of the (social/cultural/gendered, etc.) roles you play/assume, at home, work, school, etc.? What responsibilities, behaviors, emotions, etc. are expected (by society) of these roles? How do these roles influence/shape/absorb into your sense of self, identity, and self-concept? Can you think of a role (or roles) that you just found yourself, all of sudden/one day playing into without much thought (in other words, it became your reality one day and you began to act/think/behave in accordance with this role)? For example, a child who assumes the role of caretaker due to unforeseen circumstances in life or a person who is considered the “rock of the family” (the person who typically holds the family together). These individuals did not necessarily expect to find themselves in these roles, but social, cultural, individual/personal and other factors led them there.
2) How do these roles shift/change over time and across contexts/settings? Are there any racialized, gendered, etc, stereotypes, prejudices, and/or acts of discrimination/oppression/privilege associated with any of these roles that you have had to or continue to face/confront/experience?
3) Identity is complex and multilayered – no person has a single, easily stated, unitary identity (Delgado, p. 9, 2001). Identities can be assigned to us, and sometimes we assert them (and often a mixture of both). They are socially-constructed. Everyone has potentially conflicting, intersecting, overlapping identities, loyalties, roles, and allegiances. What are your thoughts about this? Can you think of any other examples of how roles, identities, etc. conflict, intersect, and overlap in your own life? Which identities have been assigned to you, and which have you asserted? Are there any identities that you emphasize in certain spaces/contexts and de-emphasize in others? Explain. Do any of these identities help you navigate life and certain spaces? How so?
Set 5 – General Questions about Prejudice, Racism, Discrimination, and Microaggression
1) What are the differences between stereotypes, prejudice, discrimination? How are these also all related?
2) What are microaggressions? How do these differ from blatant forms of discrimination? What are some subtle (less obvious) and overt (more obvious) forms of prejudice you, or someone you know, have experienced in your life?
3) What social conditions do you think might be responsible for breeding/feeding prejudice? How does society continue to maintain and perpetuate prejudice?
Set 6 – Questions Pertaining to Cognitive Dissonance:
1) One theory regarding why our attitudes change is because we are motivated to maintain consistency among our cognitions. Cognitive Dissonance is the state of having inconsistent thoughts, beliefs, or attitudes, especially as relating to behavioral decisions and attitude change. Tension arises when you become simultaneously aware of two inconsistent cognitions. CD is the discomfort felt by a person who holds conflicting ideas, beliefs or values at the same time (in other words, these are not consistent/ do not align). Cognitive theory states that people have a bias to seek consonance between their expectations and reality. Mismatches between beliefs and actions can lead to feelings of discomfort (and, sometimes, coping choices that have negative impacts), but such feelings can also sometimes lead to change and growth. So, for example, a person who smokes cigarettes is aware that smoking is bad for their health (not to mention a cause of lung cancer). So, this person would be in a state of dissonance. In order to reduce dissonance, this person might change their behavior (stop smoking) to align with their beliefs, or adjust their cognitions/thoughts/attitudes toward smoking (e.g., “I know people who have smoked all their lives and lived to over 100 years of age, and others who did not smoke at all and died young”). Similarly, a person could convince their self that it is better to “live for today” than to “save for tomorrow.” In other words, they could tell their self that a short life filled with smoking and sensual pleasures is better than a long life devoid of such joys. In this way, they would be decreasing the importance of the dissonant cognition (smoking is bad for one’s health). The point is, people do not want to feel this and it is uncomfortable to be in a constant state of dissonance, so individuals engage in attitudinal change or behavioral change efforts (adjust thinking and behaviors) to reduce dissonance and feelings of discomfort, guilt, shame, etc. and to justify/rationalize certain actions.
What are some examples of CD that you can think of?
2) How do you think CD plays a role in conflicting social spaces and opposing identities? For example, you might reflect on the perpetual state of dissonance that minoritized communities (communities of color/BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, etc.) occupy/find themselves in as a result of lack of diversity in spaces that has made them hypervisible, while colorblind and oppressive practices and policies have rendered them simultaneously invisible (and therefore leads them to grapple between a state of hypervisibility and invisibility, that may manifest as internalized stigma and oppression). Please share your thoughts.
Set 7 – Questions Pertaining to the Attribution of Causality/Fundamental Attribution Error: To the Person or the Situation & Misattribution:
1) What is the Theory of Attribution/Attribution of Causality?
2) Describe the difference between a dispositional and a situational attribution. Give an example of each.
3) Describe the fundamental attribution error and discuss a time when you (or someone you know) made this error toward someone (or you can share about a time when someone made this error toward you). Why do you think you/the person you know were/was led to drawing this conclusion about the other person? Why do we make the attribution error and what factors influence this? How can we endeavor to judge people’s character more accurately? How do (mis)attributions play a role in this week’s topic of prejudice, stereotypes, and discrimination?