Title

Do Majority Group Members Experience the Minority Spotlight Effect?

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D)

Department

Psychology and Special Education

Date of Award

Fall 2020

Abstract

The minority spotlight effect (MSE) arises when people feel more attention on them when they are the sole member of their in-group, or a group related topic is discussed (Otubanjo, 2019). The current study examined if people belonging to majority groups experienced the MSE. The research consisted of two studies. Study one, a two (solo-status: Solo-White vs. racially diverse) × two (group salience: non-salient vs. salient) between-subjects design was employed. Participants imagined being the only White American student in a group of African Americans (Solo-White). Second, participants imagined being one of many White American students in a racially diverse group (racially diverse). For each of these two scenarios, the participants were assigned to either a non-salient or salient group. In the non-salient group, participants imagined a typical day in the classroom. In the salient group, participants imagined their professor making a race-relevant statement that makes their racial group salient. Results indicated that White students reported they would expect feeling the spotlight more when they were the only White student in the classroom and when the professor made a statement about privilege. For Study two, a two (solo-status: solo-male vs. gender-diverse) × two (group salience: non-salient vs. salient) between-subjects design was employed. First, the participants imagined being the only male student in a group of female students (solo-male). Second, participants imagined being one of many male students in a gender-diverse group (gender-diverse). For each of these two scenarios, the participants were assigned to either a non-salient or salient group. In the non-salient group, participants imagined their professor made a statement on climate change. In the salient group, participants imagined their professor made a gender-relevant statement. Results for Study two indicated male students reported they would anticipate feeling the spotlight more when they were the only male and when the professor made a statement about the gender wage gap. This study adds to research on solo-status and the MSE.Keywords: Group salience, Solo-status, Spotlight effect, Targeted social referencing.

Advisor

DeMarquis Hayes

Subject Categories

Education | Educational Psychology

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