Date of Award

Spring 4-11-2018

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Professor Richard Shugar

Second Advisor

Doctor Leslie Janes

Abstract

The current study investigated first-impression attitudes in university students towards people from minorities and different backgrounds and the relationship these attitudes had to their empathy and self-esteem. Thirty-five students from the Introduction to Psychology course at Brescia University College took part in the study. The participants rated eighteen pictures of people based on first-impression on the First Impression Judgment Scale. Twelve of the pictures presented were of six people, one set of six pictures with a cultural identification and the other six pictures were casually posed with no cultural identification. Also, the last six pictures were of neutral people, added to the first twelve as distractions. Furthermore, each subject filled out a Social Empathy Index (SEI) to measure their empathy, a Coppersmith Self-esteem Inventory (CSI) to indicate their self-esteem and a Demographic Questionnaire. The results of a Pearson Correlation indicated significant positive correlations between both empathy and self-esteem in relation to first-impression attitudes towards people from minorities and different cultures. Future research should further expand this study by replication on a larger and more diverse sample. The supported hypotheses proposes more attention be given in the education system to self-esteem and empathy to increase positive multicultural attitudes in people.

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