Political Psychology - Public Political Attitudes Assignment
This assignments asks students to wrestle with "Pluralistic Ignorance"--the propensity of members of the public to misperceive the majority position and attitudes of their fellow citizens on important topics. The "False Consensus Effect," for example, is an attribution pattern that suggests that individuals tend to perceive their own behavior as typical and over-estimate the degree to which others share their beliefs or would make similar decisions. Prior to the assignment, students in the class have been surveyed about their own positions on several current issues. The survey also prompted students to estimate the proportion of the public that shared your views. The writing assignment presented here invites students to analyze the degree to which students in the class manifested the False Consensus Effect by comparing their estimates to existing data generated by national surveys.
Context for Use
Description and Teaching Materials
The lab work involved access to the ICPSR data archive: http://www.icpsr.umich.edu/ICPSR/
Students also consulted the American National Election Study Website: http://www.electionstudies.org/ for more details on the surveys, question wording etc.
A third file was a spreadsheet containing the results of the in-class survey which I have not made available here.
Assignment Handout (Microsoft Word 28kB Feb13 09)
Teaching Notes and Tips
For some discussion of the SDA system is here:
References and Resources
For some discussion of the SDA system: