Social Study: Stereotypes and Asian Students

Prejudices and stereotypes are a collection of principles that underlie impression formation. There exists a very interesting social phenomenon called stereotypes. Stereotypes are false assumptions that all members of some group share the same characteristics. Our topic relates to the prejudice involving the physical attributes of different Asian ethnicities. Our group decided to study this topic not only because the majority of us possess an Asian background, but because Asians are a minority in the United States. I find it interesting that various Asian ethnicities can be so thoroughly generalized by American society. We hypothesize that Caucasians will have more difficulty than Asians in distinguishing different Asian ethnicities.

Method

The participants play a vital role in the validation of our hypothesis. 10 Asian and 10 Caucasian students, grades 9-12 of Fairmont Preparatory Academy, were chosen for our study. An additional 5 Asian students not raised in an Asian background was added to our study. Overall we had a total of 25 participants for our study. Out of our participants included various Asian races: Korean, Japanese, and Chinese. Thus, this is not random sampling because we had to choose specific students of either Asian or Caucasian ethnicities. The materials needed for our study included a laptop which had wireless internet access. We figured out that students are unwilling or distracted during their lunch time. Therefore, we decided to make it convenient for the students by utilizing a laptop to conduct our study. Confounding variables such as the students’ rush to get lunch or inattentive behavior due to hunger could have affected out study. Our study consisted of a survey, found on http://www.alllooksame.com on the internet. The survey consists of 20 questions, each asking the ethnicity, Chinese, Japanese, or Korean of an Asian’s picture. At the end the website automatically records the correct and incorrect answers and determines your ability to distinguish the races.

Procedure

Our independent variables were the Asian and Caucasian races. Our dependent variable was the results from the survey, given in the amount of correct and incorrect answers to the questions. We used a Sony Laptop to administer the survey to the participants. The survey is online at www.alllooksame.com, and we charted the answers of each participant. We asked 10 Asian Fairmont students, then 10 Caucasian Fairmont students, and then the additional 5 Asian students not raised with an Asian background. The total scores of each of the racial categories were plotted on a table. We calculated and compared the mean score of the data. Additionally, we calculated the mode, median, and standard deviation(the square root of the sum of squares divided by (n-1).) In the survey, each student would be presented a picture of an Asian individual. They would have to determine if they are Japanese, Korean, or Chinese. At the end of the 20 questions, the website automatically generates a statement of the test takers’ efficiency in determining and distinguishing the Asian people.

Results

We found that the Asian students were generally more capable of distinguishing the different Asian races. Thus, our hypothesis was correct to a certain extent. However, one of our independent variables introduced a factor that contradicts our previously stated hypothesis. The category of participants, Asians without an Asian background, disproved our hypothesis because they scored generally lower than the Caucasians and the other Asians. The mean score of the Asian students was 10.5 out of 20. The mean score of the white students was 6.8 out of 20, and the mean score of the last category was 6.6 out of 20. The total mean score of all 25 students was approximately 8.2 out of 20. The median score of the Asian students was 10, that of the white students was 6.8, and that of the third category was 6. (See Figure 1, 2, 3 ,4 and Data Table)

Discussion

We received these results because of the culture of the participants rather than due wholly to their race.

Data:

AsianCaucasian
1.135
2.94
3.157
4.179
5.811
6.83
7.57
8.105
9.137
10.710

�Scores out of 20.

Asians (not in Asian background)
1.8
2.3
3.5
4.11
5.6

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