Social Thinking

Discussion 2
In this discussion, you will consider theoretical perspectives on the formation, maintenance, and change of attitudes and the cognitive processes that support these thoughts, feelings, and actions. Use files attached.

· Choose any group toward which you have a strong attitude, positive or negative.
o Possible dimensions from which you may select your group include: appearance, race or ethnicity, gender, social class, nationality, sexual identity, (dis)ability, rural versus urban status, geographic region, religious belief, political ideology, incarceration/criminal history, occupational status, military status, and so on.
· Relate stereotypes (thoughts about), prejudice (feelings toward), and/or discrimination (actions) directed toward members of this group on a societal or cultural level, explaining potential causal mechanisms (categorization, social norms, inequality, etc.; see Chapter 6). You may elect to identify your own implicit and explicit attitudes, as well, though this is not required.
o Use concrete examples to illustrate (e.g., advertisements that depict members of the group in a stereotypical manner, statements you have overheard expressing affective reactions to the group, policies that discriminate in favor or/against the group, etc.). Consider both negative and positive elements.
· Identify situational and social/cultural factors that may influence attitudes toward this group.
· Analyze attitudes toward this group using one or more relevant theoretical perspectives (self-perception theory, cognitive dissonance, theory of planned behavior, etc.; see Chapter 4).
o Examine the use of heuristics (availability, representativeness, etc.) and errors in judgment (belief perseverance, confirmation bias, illusion of control, etc.) with regard to this attitude (see Chapter 5).
· Consider how positive or negative attitudes toward this or another group might be implicated in a professional setting (see A Class Divided). Identify realistic suggestions to eliminate as much bias as possible in this context (see Pettigrew, 1998).
To fully demonstrate content knowledge and critical thinking, in your Social Thinking discussion

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· Interpret course concepts explicitly, applying them to your personal experiences/observations, and cite the required readings as appropriate.
· Be thorough and specific, structuring your work intentionally (with an introductory and concluding sentence or two), providing clear context, and concisely and precisely explaining relevant course concepts.
· Use personal examples to illustrate as appropriate, but do be sure to provide an objective analysis too, referencing required materials and using additional sources as needed to support your insight.

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