Date of Award

9-2013

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program

Psychology

First Advisor

Nilanjana Dasgupta

Second Advisor

David Cort

Third Advisor

Ronnie Janoff-Bulman

Subject Categories

Psychology | Social Psychology

Abstract

Three experiments explored the way in which different framings of multiculturalism influence White American perceivers’ attitudes towards ethnic minorities and inclusion of them in the national group. Results showed that while participants always preferred Whites to ethnic minorities, the difference in liking was largest when multiculturalism was described as permanent and Whites were present (vs. absent) in that description. In contrast, differences in liking did not vary by the role of Whites when multiculturalism was described as temporary (Studies 1 and 2). Second, Whites were always seen as more American than ethnic minorities, but particularly when Whites were present (vs. absent) in the description of multiculturalism regardless of the temporal framing (Studies 1 and 2). Third, participants experienced a greater need to affirm the White status quo when multiculturalism was described as permanent and Whites were present (vs. absent) in the description (Study 2). Finally, bias against ethnic minorities was greatest when the description of multiculturalism affirmed the primacy of White heritage in the definition of the nation. Overall findings suggest that not explicitly including the majority group in multiculturalism may lead to better relations between them and minority groups.

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