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Seeing the pictures in our heads: Narrative and trait adjective stereotype research methods

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Title: Seeing the pictures in our heads: Narrative and trait adjective stereotype research methods
Author(s): Salzer, Mark Steven
Doctoral Committee Chair(s): Rappaport, Julian
Department / Program: Psychology
Discipline: Psychology
Degree Granting Institution: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree: Ph.D.
Genre: Dissertation
Subject(s): Psychology, Social Psychology, Clinical
Abstract: Research on stereotyping relies exclusively on trait conceptualizations despite numerous criticisms of such approaches as being inadequate, when taken alone, to fully describe social perceptions. The reliance on trait approaches constrains advances in theory and hinders progress in our understanding stereotyping processes. Nonetheless, the field lacks alternative approaches that compliment the accumulated knowledge generated from research conducted with traits. The central aims of this dissertation study were to provide an alternative method for studying stereotypes, a narrative method, and to assess the contributions offered by narrative and trait methods in conveying social perceptions.In this study, college students were asked to write a story about a representative of a stereotyped social group, a public housing resident, and describe that resident using trait adjectives. These individuals, referred to as authors, also completed four instruments assessing their beliefs and attitudes about public housing. Two other students, one given the story and the other the trait list, were asked to read the information and predict how the author responded on the four instruments. Predictions were compared in terms of how close they were to the authors' responses (i.e., predictive accuracy) and were examined for their unique contributions in accounting for author responses (i.e., additive accuracy). Results from this study indicated that authors generally had negative perceptions of public housing residents, as indicated by stories, trait lists, and responses on the four instruments. Furthermore, stories conveyed unique information in the prediction of authors' responses and, in general, story-based and trait-based predictions did not significantly differ in terms of how closely they mimicked author responses. These results support the usefulness and uniqueness of a narrative framework for studying social perceptions. A model of narrative mental representations of social perceptions is briefly outlined along with suggestions for future research using narrative methods.$\sp*$ ftn$\sp*$Originally published in DAI Vol. 56, No. 9. Reprinted here with corrected title.
Issue Date: 1995
Type: Text
Language: English
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2142/22481
ISBN: 9780591000436
Rights Information: Copyright 1995 Salzer, Mark Steven
Date Available in IDEALS: 2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog: AAI9543714
OCLC Identifier: (UMI)AAI9543714
 

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