ERIC Number: ED207928
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981-Aug
A Study of Attitude Change in College Classes.
Wylie, Mary Lou; Parcell, Stanley R.
This study sought to determine if two college courses, social problems and psychology, had a liberalizing effect on students' social and political attitudes. A "liberalizing effect" is defined as shifting students' world view and social analysis from an exceptionalistic to an universalistic perspective. The two professors involved in the study intended to liberalize attitudes through their courses by assigning readings which utilize a radical perspective and lecturing primarily from materials with a radical perspective. A questionnaire on political and social attitudes was administered to 103 students in four classes at a medium sized, state-supported, liberal arts university. The questionnaire tapped several dimensions of liberalism/conservatism: status quo/change; acceptance/criticism of societal arrangements; and whether individuals or society are to blame for social problems. Two sections of Social Problems (Sociology 250) and two sections of Human Growth and Development (Psychology 234) were used. Results showed that students are more liberal at the conclusion than at the beginning of the courses. The sociology students showed a greater liberal change than did the students in the psychology courses. The authors point out that we now need to examine whether these liberal values are still held at later times when the student may not be taking any sociology courses. (Author/RM)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association (76th, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, August 24-28, 1981).