Prejudicial attitudes and behaviors: Effects of didactic learning, experiential learning and dogmatism
Wells, Michal Ann
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This study was conducted to evaluate the impact of didactic learning, experiential learning and dogmatism on prejudicial attitudes and behaviors- Subjects were 279 students enrolled in freshman level teacher preparation classes at Texas Tech University. Subjects were pre- and post-tested on dogmatism (Rokeach, Form E), attitude (semantic differential), and tolerance related behavior (Student Developmental Task Inventory—Tolerance Scale). It was hypothesized that subjects enrolled in ANTH 1301 would experience statistically significant positive gains in both attitude (Hypothesis 1) and tolerance related behavior (Hypothesis 2) over a control group of students in EDSL 1290. Both of these hypotheses were supported by the study. A subgroup of Anthropology volunteers representing the thirty highest (HDs) and lowest (LDs) scores on Rokeach's dogmatism scale were selected to take a three hour Sensitivity Workshop, consisting of a cultural simulation game and a short discussion session. It was hypothesized that subjects involved in the Sensitivity Workshop would show statistically significant positive gains in attitude (Hypothesis 4) and tolerance related behavior (Hypothesis 5) over a Control Group of Anthropology students matched for pre-test scores on dogmatism, GPA, SAT and/or ACT, and sex. Hypotheses 3 and 4 were not supported. However, subjects in the Sensitivity Workshop achieved significantly greater positive gains in attitude than subjects in either the Control Group or class as a whole. It was hypothesized that of the subjects involved in the Sensitivity Workshop LDs would make statistically significant positive changes in attitude (Hypothesis 5) and tolerance related behavior (Hypothesis 6) than would HDs. Hypothesis 5 was not supported by the study. Contrary to expectation HDs experienced greater gains in positive attitude change. While Hypothesis 6 was not supported by the study, LDs exhibited more positive tolerance related behaviors at a statistically significant level on both pre- and post-tests as compared with HDs. Didactic learning was found to be statistically significant in positive attitude and behavior change. Experiential learning was found to have a significant positive impact on attitude change, but was not a factor in behavior change. HDs made greater positive attitude changes. LDs practiced more positive tolerance related behaviors than did HDs.