Do essentialists benefit from multicultural experience?
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Science
In order to further understand how people react to culturally diverse experiences an experiment was conducted at the University of Canterbury consisting of 120 participants recruited from the university and general public. It was hypothesised that participants would show a reduction in prejudice towards Asians, homosexuals, and the elderly after recollecting a past experience with a culture other than New Zealand culture and comparing it to NZ culture. Furthermore it was hypothesised that this process would be moderated by individual levels of psychological essentialism. Participants were asked to write a short essay about a past experience they had involving either a culture external to NZ, NZ culture by itself, or the last time they went to the beach (control). It was found that psychological essentialism influenced whether prejudice against homosexuals was reduced after reflecting upon NZ culture. Findings and implications are discussed.