PSYC 404
Bias and Discrimination: Sources and Consequences Fall 2021
Division III

Class Details

We often assume that our experiences reflect an objective reality, that the way we see the world is the way it really is. Yet research contradicts this notion, showing that our perceptual experiences are malleable and subjective. They are shaped by higher-order, top-down influences such as our cognitions, social groups, surroundings, motivations, emotions, and prior experiences. In this class, we will explore how subjective experiences and idiosyncratic categorizations of people into social groups directly influence social justice outcomes across varied domains. For example, how do these differences in our subjective experience influence the ways in which people relate to one another? What are the implications for fair treatment across multiple factions of society, including education, employment, health care, and criminal justice? Are there effective interventions and policies for reducing gender, racial, and ethnic bias? For promoting inclusivity? If so, why are they effective? To develop an evidence-based understanding of bias and discrimination, we will critically analyze source materials from popular press literature, films, books, and podcasts, as well as empirical research from across multiple approaches and sub-disciplines of psychology. The class format will be primarily discussion based and student-led.
The Class: Format: seminar; student-led discussions
Limit: 14
Expected: 12
Class#: 1291
Grading: no pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: weekly brief thought questions, lead two class discussions, select and present relevant empirical papers, three papers (5-7 pages)
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preferences: senior Psychology majors
Distributions: Division III

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