Racism and Psychology

Course involvement was related to greater prejudice reduction in two prejudice areas, but course grade was not related to prejudice reduction. We discuss the implications for prejudice reduction through class activities and education.
Research Questions: The authors asked if a completing a Psychology of Prejudice course would lead to a reduction of racism, sexism, and negative homosexual attitudes in students. They also wanted to learn if taking an Introductory Psychology class would have similar effects.
Research Methods: Subjects (students) attended either a Psychology of Prejudice course or an Introductory Psychology course three times a week for a ten-week school term (80 minute periods each). Before classes began and after the term completion, subjects filled out questionnaires that measured racism, sexism, and attitudes towards homosexuals using a five-point Likert scale. The measurement of self-involvement was self-reported on a ten-point Likert scale.
Study Participants: Participants were students from a small, private college. There were 99 subjects in total with 33 taking a Psychology of Prejudice course and 66 taking Introductory Psychology. The first group (Prejudice course) were 94% Caucasian, 73% female, and averaged near 20 years old. The larger Introductory group was 95% Caucasian, 59% female, and averaged just under 19 years old.
Outcomes/Conclusions: As the authors predicted, completion of a Psychology of Prejudice class id lead to a reduction in racism (modern and old-fashioned), sexism (modern and old-fashioned), and negative attitudes towards homosexuals. The Introductory group only saw a reduction in modern sexism. There was no link between reductions and class marks, but self-involvement was related to old-fashioned sexism and homosexual attitude improvements. The authors suggest that a higher starting prejudice score may be related to the lack of reduction in Introductory