Political_Science_164A_-_Spring_1995_-_Stoker_-_Final - THU...

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Unformatted text preview: 08/10/2000 THU 12:23 FAX 6434330 MDFFITT LIBRARY 001 Final Examination Spring, 1995 PS 164a Political Psychology I. Long Essay - Answer one of the following three questions (32 points) 1. Political socialization scholars have explained society-wide changes in opinion and behavior by drawing upon arguments concerning how individuals develop and change their political opinions and behaviors over their lifespan. Write an essay that discusses these arguments, and that shows how they could be developed to explain the over—time trends described below. For M1 of the examples, provide two alternative explanations. Example 1: Throughout most of the 20th century women voted at lower rates than did men. The gender gap in turnout, however, narrowed gradually from the 1920’s onward, eventually disappearing in 1980. Example 2: Studies have shown that Americans became substantially more cynical about politicians from the mid-1960’s to the mid-1970’s, though this change was especially pronounced among young people. 2. One focus of scholarship on the mass media has been on its ability to change attitudes or beliefs, and more specifically, 0n the conditions under which this ability is either weak or strong. Discuss the conditions under which the mass media’s power to persuade will be maximized, providing examples. If these conditions are rarely met, does that mean that the mass media rarely have a significant effect on public opinion and elections? In what other ways, besides perSuasion, can the media be influential? 3. Political psychologists think that political beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors are shaped by processes of social influence -- where what one believes or feels or does depends in part upon the influence of people in one’s social environment. Write an essay that compares and contrasts the four major mechanisms of social influence that we considered in the class, providing illustrations from readings and/or lecture. 1]. Short Essay — Answer two of the following four questions (12 points each, 24 total) 1. Attribution theorists have demonstrated that "actors" and "observers" tend to offer different explanations for the actOr’s behavior, and that peeple in general tend to offer different explanatiOns for Successes and failures (i.e., regarding whether or not an act is given a dispositional explanation). Describe these phenomena and discuss the different ways that attribution theorists have tried to account for them. 2. Personality and learning arguments offer different ways of understanding many political phenomena, including the development of gender identity and the development of stereotypes of out—groups. Drawing on one of these two examples in illustration, write an essay that addresses the key differences in the way personality and learning theories explain political views and behavior. 3. Milgram notes that, among those informed of the results of his research on obedience, that "a commonly offered explanation is that those who shocked the victim at the most severe level were monsters, the sadistic fringe of society." Why might we have expected people to offer this explanation for Milgram’s findings? What central piece of evidence does Milgram rely upon to dismiss this explanation? Might some kind of personality argument (e.g., based on the authoritarian personality research) still be relevant to explaining some of his findings? 08/10/2000 THU 12:23 FAX 6434330 MDFFITT LIBRARY 002 3. In Children and Politics, Greenstein represents the traditional View of party identification when he writes: "Children acquire party attachments before they can make more than the most fragmentary distinctions abOut the nature of political parties, about what the parties stand for, even about who the parties’ public representatives are. Party preferences are fixed early; they precede the advent of issue orientations, or "mature" evaluations of candidates. Thus, from an early age, party preferences are available for shaping isSue and candidate preferences and, more generally, for perceiving the world of politics." Drawing upon lectures and arguments articulated by Samuel Popkin in Ilia Reasoning Voter, provide an alternative to the traditional view of party identification as an early learned, affective attachment that overwhelmingly shapes political learning and candidate evaluation. III. Interpretation -- Answer four of the following six questions (4 points each, 16 points total) Each of the statements below is drawn from a course reading and illustrates a psychological concept or process that we have discussed. Identify which concept or process each statement might be taken to represent. Be explicit, and explain your answer; a few sentences will do here. 1. (Sniderman) “Prejudice . . . is rooted in part in peeple’s most deep-seated psychological needs and conflicts —— rooted, that is, in basic and enduring aspects of the personality, established in childhood, primarily in response to their parents, particularly in reaction to punitive fathers and overbearing mothers." 2. (Ottati and Wyer) "In the political arena, . . , perceptions of candidates’ stands on issues could be rationalized consequences of attitudes toward the candidates that were developed for others reasons. Specifically, a voter might simply assume that a liked candidate holds an agreeable position and that a disliked candidate holds a disagreeable one." 3. (Bosso) "On Tuesday, October 23, 1934, and fer three successive nights afterward, NBC News aired stunning footage of starving Ethiopians massed together in immense government feeding stations. NBC anchor Tom Brokaw reported that some 6 million were endangered, while about 500,000 would probably die within a year. The graphic pictures had an immediate impact: UNICEF, the international children’s relief agency, reported over 5,000 telephone calls during the next four days. The Save The Children Fund received over 12,000 calls in the same period, plus pledges of close to $75,000. Catholic Relief Services, whose earlier appeals produced relatively little, reported over $2 million in a single month." 4. (Sears) "An individual keeps a running tally of evaluations of the attitude object. Each new piece of information is simply absorbed as an incremental updating of that running tally, but the information itself is not necessarily stored. When the attitude is Primed, the stored summary evaluation is retrieved, not the raw infermation on which it was based. As a reSult, evaluation is independent of remembered details." 5. (Brown) "[OIur group evaluations are essentially relative in nature; we assess our own group’s worth or prestige by comparing it to others groups. The Outcome of these intergroup comparisons is critical for us because indirectly it contributes to cur own self-esteem. If our own group can be perceived as clearly superior on some dimension of value then we, too, can bask in that reflected glory" 6. (Levine) "Through trial and error, children learn appropriate behavior. When they do the "wrong" thing, they are punished or otherwise corrected, and when they do the "right" thing, there may be some consequent reward. Some of the habits thus acquired have a "drive" character; that is, they come to have reward and punishment value on their own." 08/10/2000 THU 12:24 FAX 6434330 MDFFITT LIBRARY 003 IV. Identification — Define and identify the significance of seven of the following terms/phrases (4 points each, 23 points total) 1. status deference "horseraee" coverage bolstering principle of least effort The Benevolent Leader superego the rally phenomenon subtyping model of stereotype change . low-information rationality 10. "moods" or "mood states" 11. minimal-group experiments beseeeww ...
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