This is the assignment for Psy322 (Social Psychology):For this assignment, we will conduct a study as a class. We will do one (or more) of the following:
A. As a class, we will conduct a study in which we test ideas similar to those in the Prentice & Miller (1993) article on pluralistic ignorance. We will create a class survey including a variety of topics, but smaller groups will create the questions for one of the topics. I will give you information about the findings from previous studies that our Social Psychology class has run. If we decide to conduct a large survey, individual and class input will be solicited to refine the questionnaire and to devise the procedure. The class will collect information from a large group of Reed students about their private attitudes and their perceptions of the social norms at Reed.
B. As a class, we could conduct a follow-up study to one that the previous social psychology classes conducted. Our class would then collect data from a large group of Reed students that utilizes these earlier results; we could for instance inform Reed students about the earlier results and assess the impact of this information.
C. We could conduct a study in one of the forms above - measuring new norms, or following up on previous classes' research - with the additional step of measuring Reedies' perceptions of how much their fellow students vary on different measures. Do Reedies perceive their peers as being very much alike or quite different from each other? For example, you might ask about the behavior or beliefs of the "average" Reedie, and also ask what range 50% or 90% of Reedies fall into. This can be compared to how variable Reedies actually report being.
Additionally, Prentice & Miller (1993) found that when people view their own behavior as deviant from the norm, they are more likely to feel alienated from the group if they see the group as very homogeneous. We could measure Reedies' sense of alienation from and connectedness to the Reed community, and determine if (1) students who view themselves as more deviant from the norm feel more alienated, and if (2) there is a difference in feelings of alienation between students who see the group as more or less homogenous.
Regardless of which of the above courses we take, each individual will write an essay on the final exam about their methods and results. Did your group find any difference between individuals' private attitudes and their perceptions of the social norms? Explain how your group's results relate to Prentice & Miller's.