Review Questions for Final Exam, PS 474, Political Psychology

Dr. Peffley, Spring, 2010


Ground Rules:  The exam is worth 40% of your final grade and will consist of about 30-40 multiple choice questions and 1 to 4 short essay questions. The review questions below are designed to focus your preparation on theories and concepts from which the exam questions will be selected and formulated. There are a lot of questions, but they are fairly specific and they are far fewer than the usual infinite number of potential questions you’d be facing if there wasn’t a study guide!  If you are prepared to answer these questions, you should do well on the exam. During the exam, you may not rely on notes. Bring both a #2 pencil for the multiple choice questions and a ball-point pen and a blue book for the essay questions. Better essays will be organized and efficiently written.


Study Questions for Political Psychology of  Prejudice

1.       Define prejudice, stereotyping and discrimination and discuss a few general reasons why prejudice and stereotyping are so important in studying mass political behavior.


2.       Although there have been many signs of progress in race relations in the U.S. there are also disturbing disappointments  Discuss the contrast between Whites’ support for racial equality in the abstract and the results of field experiments of racial discrimination in employment.


3.       In Spencer Piston’s study of explicit racial prejudice and voting in the 2008 Election, first describe how he measures prejudice in his study and then describe at least three of his major findings with respect to the role that racial prejudice played or did not play in the 2008 election.


4.       Describe briefly Kuklinski’s 1991 “list experiment” and what it says about the convergence thesis of the “New South” (with South defined as the confederate South; KY was a border state), and what groups show greater or lesser levels of racial prejudice and why.


5.       What is the difference between explicit and implicit attitudes and what are their advantages and disadvantages for studying prejudice?  


6.       Describe Keith Payne’s Affect Misattribution Procedure (AMP) measure of racial prejudice, what role the “Warning manipulation” plays in increasing confidence in his measure, and what role his measure of implicit prejudice played in the 2008 election, compared to explicit measures of racial prejudice.  What are the general implications of his study?


7.       Describe one of Jennifer Ebberhardt’s experiments (YouTube material linked on the syllabus) and what it demonstrates about how crime and race are linked in the minds of Whites.


Conformity Study Questions

8.       Define obedience, conformity, compliance, and acceptance, using examples, and indicate how these labels reflect Western culture.


9.       In Muzar Sherif’s studies of norm formation, what role does the “autokinetic phenomenon” play in what Sherif labeled norm formation when subjects were in the presence of others versus alone?


10.    In what important way did Solomon Asch’s study differ from Sherif’s, and how did group size and the presence of a dissenter influence conformity to the group’s judgment?  What does this study tell us about conformity?


11.    How does Milgram’s study differ from other explanations of the holocaust or mass killings and what does it tell us about who can be induced to harm others and under what conditions?


12.    Describe Milgram’s baseline experiment and its implications for the study of obedience to authority and aggression. Which variations in the experimental conditions (e.g., emotional distance of the victim, closeness and legitimacy of authority, institutional authority) influence the level of obedience and which do not?  What implications does this have for obedience to authority in the real world?


13.    Laboratory studies are always confronted with the question of whether they can be applied to the real world (i.e., “problems of method”).  To what extent are the results of Milgram’s study “limited to the laboratory” versus the real world?   Explain.


14.    Discuss whether Milgram’s study is time-bound—i.e., limited to the early 1960s, when his studies were conducted?


15.    Describe the difference in the agentic state and an autonomous state and how this helps to explain Milgram’s results.


16.    Describe Zimbardo’s prison simulation experiment and how its results shed further light on conformity and the torture and prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib.    


Review Question for Genocide & Mass Killings

17.    How are genocide and mass killings defined and what types of life conditions and psychological processes give rise to such horrific acts?  Describe at least four psychological processes, using examples. 


Review Questions for Who Counts As An American? by Elizabeth Theiss-Morse (ETM)

18.    Ch 1: What is different about ETM’s perspective for studying American national identity (ANI) from earlier attempts to define and study it?  Is American national identity a belief in national principles, like the “American Creed?” Is it based on particular ethnic or cultural groups? Is it another term for patriotism? How does ETM conceptualize it?


19.    What are some of the basic processes of social identity theory (e.g., Marilyn Brewer, Henri Tajfel), such as ingroup bias and outgroup derogation and the minimal group paradigm, and why is the strength of identification so important, according to ETM? (Ch 2)


20.    What types of people fit the stereotype of the prototypical American identity, demographically and attitudinally, according to ETM?  In other words, what explains (predicts) commitment to American national identity?


21.    If America is a Christian nation, are citizens who aren’t Christians not Americans or just bad Americans?


22.    What are “hard” group boundaries and what types of people tend set them? (Ch 3).  What are the consequences of having a stronger commitment to ANI and setting hard group boundaries in terms of people’s willingness to help marginalized Americans through government programs versus helping through charities, voluntary associations and other forms of what ETM calls “individual-choice” help? (Ch 4)


23.    Briefly describe ETM’s dictator game experiment and its findings and what it says about the willingness of individuals with strong identities to help others. (Ch 4)


24.    How do strong identifiers respond to criticisms of the U.S., according to ETM), and how does this fit with social identity theory? In what ways is this response beneficial or harmful?  Use examples in your essay to illustrate your points. (Ch 5)


25.    Briefly describe the experiment used to study the ways that weak and strong identifiers respond to criticisms about the group and evaluate whether such responses tend to be beneficial or harmful, using examples. (Ch 5)


26.    Is national identity good or bad, overall?  Evaluate various strategies for promoting the positive over the negative consequences of national identities in terms of whether they can realistically serve to bring people together without tearing them apart. (Ch 6)