|When:||Friday, May 25, 2012|
11:00 AM - 12:00 PM
|Where:||Swift Hall, Room 414
2029 Sheridan Road
Evanston, IL 60208 map it
|Audience:||- Faculty/Staff - Student|
|Contact:||Bobby Cheon (847) 467-4258|
|Group:||Social Psychology Program|
This week's speaker is Alex Browman, a graduate student in the Social Psychology program.
Somewhere I Belong: The Power of Identity-Context Fit
In spite of having demonstrated strong academic performances in the past, students from low socioeconomic backgrounds tend to underperform at the college level. Taking an identity-based motivation approach, we propose that the college context is more likely to activate their “low SES” identity—as opposed to their “good student” identity—which then lead them to engage in academically harmful (but identity-consistent) ways. Findings from 3 studies support this hypothesis. In Study 1, low SES participants were more likely than their high SES counterparts to be sensitive to their SES-based identities when in the college context and, as a result, to perceive a lower sense of fit. Perceived fit was also found to predict academic efficacy. In Study 2, increasing fit between SES-based identities and the academic context diminished SES-based gaps in perceived fit, motivation, and expected performance. Study 3 lends preliminary support for our contention that changes in fit directly affect the salience of the “good student” identity: improving fit among low SES participants increased implicit associations between the self and high achievement. Taken together, these findings suggest that identity-context fit is both easily manipulated and crucially powerful, given the nature of the changes that followed priming. Limitations and future directions are discussed.