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Article Review: Research Methodology

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I have questions re: this article:

? What is the purpose of the study?
? What is the problem, theory, and/or research context that gave rise to the study.
? What is the research question(s) and major hypotheses.
? What are the methods used: e.g., subjects, measures, & procedures.
? What are the analyses and findings: statistics (e.g. means, R's, F's, etc.) as appropriate, and reported p values.
? Please summarize the author's discussion.
? Can you please help me evaluate the study concentrating on:

1. worthwhileness of the study;
2. adequacy of methods used;
3. confounding variables and/or limitations on the generalizability of findings;
4. whether or not discussion and conclusions are justified by reported findings;
5. appropriateness of statistical procedures utilized and why; and
6. overall evaluation.

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Solution Preview


Interesting and timely article - given our evolving world of diversity and increased potential for conflict in groups and the workplace.

Let's take a closer look at each question, which you can then draw on for your final copy.


First, let's read through the abstract which often gives us a heads up of what the study is about and what they expected and found.


Two experiments provide initial evidence that specific emotional states are capable of creating automatic prejudice toward outgroups. Specifically, we propose that anger should influence automatic evaluations of outgroups because of its functional relevance to inter-group conflict and competition, whereas other negative emotions less relevant to intergroup relations (e.g., sadness) should not. In both experiments, after minimal in-groups and outgroups were created, participants were induced to experience anger, sadness, or a neutral state. Automatic attitudes toward the in- and outgroups were then assessed using an evaluative priming measure (Experiment 1) and the Implicit Association Test (Experiment 2). As predicted, results showed that anger created automatic prejudice toward the outgroup, whereas sadness and neutrality resulted in no automatic intergroup bias. The implications of these findings for emotion-induced biases in implicit intergroup cognition in particular, and in social cognition in general, are considered (from attached article).

Now let's go through each section.

1. What is the purpose of the study?

The purpose of the study was to assess the effect of emotion on automatic attitudes (prejudice) towards groups.

2. What is the problem, theory, and/or research context that gave rise to the study.

The problem is that research to date has led to wide acceptance of the view that specific emotions can influence people's beliefs about social groups, but the growing research on emotion and intergroup cognition has focused exclusively on the effects of emotion on self-reported, or explicit, judgments of social groups. Such judgments involve conscious deliberation and are, therefore, clearly under perceivers' voluntary control. Such control, however, is not available for all types of judgments, especially automatic ones. Thus, in the domain of intergroup cognition, report the authors, "automatic attitudes stand as an unconscious analogue to self-reported or conscious prejudices; that is, they represent evaluations of social groups whose initiation and modification typically operate without volitional control". Therefore, understanding the conditions that lead to the formation and exacerbation of automatic prejudice is important not only because of its pervasiveness, but also because of accumulating evidence that automatic prejudice does not remain confined to mental life?it diffuses into people's behavior toward outgroup members. This gave rise to this study.

Two theories support automatic prejudice theory give rise to the need for the study: a functional view of emotions as phenomena designed to increase adaptive responding to environmentally significant stimuli (Damasio, 1994; Keltner & Gross, 1999; LeDoux, 1996) and from an adaptiveness standpoint, it seems reasonable to expect that specific emotions should facilitate people's ability to evaluate social groups quickly and automatically, as well as slowly and carefully, respectively (see p. 2-3 for more detail on the research supporting these theories).

3. What is the research question(s) and major hypotheses.

What is the effect of emotions on automatic intergroup attitudes?


Study 1:

We propose that just as anger can originate from current interactions with groups, incidental feelings of anger from an unrelated situation may affect automatic appraisals of social groups in a subsequent situation because the emotion signals a hostile environment and prepares individuals to act accordingly. Specifically, we propose that incidental feelings of anger are likely to increase automatic bias against an outgroup because anger increases negativity toward the outgroup, decreases positivity, or both.

According to a functionalist perspective, the emergence of outgroup bias should be specific to feelings of anger as opposed to other negative emotions that are typically less relevant to intergroup relations (e.g., sadness). To examine this hypothesis, we assigned participants to minimal groups, induced one of three emotional states (i.e., anger, sadness, neutrality), and then assessed participants' automatic attitudes toward these groups with an evaluative priming task.

3. What are the methods used: e.g., subjects, measures, & procedures.

Study 1:

Participants were a community sample of 87 New York City residents (50 females, 37 males) who participated in exchange for $10 (see p. 3).


(1). Assessment of automatic intergroup attitudes. An evaluative priming task was used to measure automatic intergroup attitudes (elements of this priming task were borrowed from Fazio).

(2) Emotion induction. This task was introduced to the participants as a study of people's memories. Participants were asked to write in detail about an autobiographical event from the past that had made them very angry, very sad, or emotionally neutral (control condition). The initial writing task was 4 minutes in duration. Participants were told that they would have an opportunity later to continue writing about their memory. In the second round of the induction procedure, participants were told to continue writing from where they had left off for another 2 minutes.

(3) Emotion manipulation check. Emotional states were assessed using 5-point adjective rating scales known to tap sadness and anger (DeSteno et al., 2000). The anger subscale consisted of angry, annoyed, ...

Solution Summary

By addressing the questions, this solution reviews an article titled " Prejudice from Thin Air" on several research dimensions, such as purpose of the study, research problem, research question, hypothesis, methods, procedures, statistical, etc.