Date of Award

Spring 5-18-2015

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

MS Experimental Psychology

Department

Psychology

Advisor

Susan M. Teague, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Susan A. Nolan, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Andrew F. Simon, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Kelly M. Goedert, Ph.D.

Keywords

hiring discrimination, ethnicity, Arab, qualifications

Abstract

Past research has examined the effects observed when résumés varying only in a name or a particular characteristic that is often stereotyped against receive differential feedback (see, for example, Derous et al., 2009). The current study sought to build on that design, adding the influence of peers as a possible way to reduce this discrimination in hiring.

Participants viewed two résumés varying in qualifications, one belonging to a seemingly Anglo candidate and one belonging to a seemingly Arab candidate. They chose a candidate for the position in the presence of peer influence which favored one candidate over another, or peer influence was absent. Finally, they rated each candidate on their qualifications and completed two assessments designed to measure prejudice. It was predicted that the Arab candidate would receive lower average ratings and be chosen less frequently for the position.

There was a robust, significant effect of qualifications on both candidate selection and rating, as well as a significant effect of peer influence on candidate selection when the Arab candidate was favored. These data indicate a possible way to reduce discrimination in hiring, particularly through encouraging employers to carefully consider the qualifications of applicants. Several suggestions for improvement upon the current design, directions for future research, and explanations of the observed results are included.

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