Undergraduate Psychology Research Methods Journal


Labeling was used through the daily life of most people and is critical in the idea of ethnicity. The purpose behind this experiment was to test Lindenwood student’s thought process behind ethnic labeling. Mainly the experiment was meant to develop the idea of whether an individual was more circumstantialist or essentialist in nature when dealing with ideas of labeling. The hypothesis was that the Lindenwood students would tend to lean toward the essentialist group thought process due to the diversity of the student body. Essentialist believed their biological parents passed on ethnicity. While circumstantialist believed ethnicity was created by behavior (White, 1999). The experiment would test this through the use of voluntary questionnaires that deal with two switched at birth scenarios. These switched at birth scenarios mainly deal with scenarios where a child born of a different ethnic background is raised by a family with a different ethnic background. There will also be a demographic survey. The results of the questionnaire and survey were analyzed with frequency tables. The results showed that there was no statistically significant pattern in the demographic surveys, but the questionnaires tended to support the hypothesis. The results showed that 68% of the responses were essentialist in nature and 32% were circumstantialist in nature. Further research should be done and the sample size needs to be bigger to increase validity. Academic research like this helps further the knowledge of the human brain and benefits other researchers.

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