On March 12, 2021, Professor of Psychology Dr. Ralph Worthing presented the paper “How Political Affiliation Affects Attitudes Toward Mask-wearing, White Privilege, and Systemic Racism” at the annual conference of the Michigan Academy of Science, Arts, & Letters (MASAL), which was held virtually this year.
Dr. Worthing’s paper was based on an in-class survey research demonstration in his Fall 2020 and Winter 2021 Introduction to Psychology classes. Dr. Worthing asked students to indicate their political affiliation, then rate their attitudes toward wearing masks in public and the social issues of White Privilege and Systemic Racism.
Dr. Worthing opened his presentation with this comment, “A phrase than can make me cringe is ‘research has shown’. Research can be meaningful or meaningless, depending upon the skills and objectivity of the researcher. I like to have my students understand that concept by experiencing the process of research from the ground up. Hence, I engage my students in some type of study each semester. My goal is for the scientific method to become real to them rather than an abstraction.”
What could be timelier and more meaningful than the exploration of these attitudes, which intersect several very real social issues? Dr. Worthing has shared his presentation notes here, which students also read and reflect on to close the loop in their learning experience: