2011 Student Research Conference:
24th Annual Student Research Conference

The Relationship Between Race and Racial Attitudes as Measured by Trait-Assignment in the Sims 3
Zachary D. Palmer
Dr. Amber Johnson, Faculty Mentor

The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between race and racial attitudes as measured by distribution of negative and positive traits assigned to black and white Sims in The Sims 3. The hypotheses were that 1)African-American subjects would show more negative attitudes toward black Sims than white Sims (through assigning more negative traits to the black Sims), and 2) African-American subjects would show more negative attitudes toward black Sims than their European-American counterparts. The study involved a convenience sample of 35 European-American and African-American college students who were asked to assign 5 traits to either black or white computerized people (Sims) which were randomly assigned. The traits were coded as being negative, positive, or neutral. Data were analyzed in SPSS to attempt to examine the patterns in trait assignment among different races of subjects to different races of Sims. The research only partially supported the hypothesis, suggesting that African-American students attitudes were more or less equally distributed between black and white Sims, supporting previous studies that showed an improvement of African-Americans racial attitudes toward their own group (Porter and Washington 1979; Greene 1980; Hughes and Demo 1989). However, in comparison to the trait assignment of European-Americans, African-American subjects assigned more negative traits toward black Sims.

Keywords: racial attitudes, trait assignment, African-American, European-American, the Sims 3


Presentation Type: Poster

Session: 2-4
Location: Georgian Room - SUB
Time: 4:30

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