Perceptions of Human Nature and Public Policy Survey

Faculty Sponsor

Geoff Wetherell


Arts and Sciences



Presentation Type

Poster Presentation

Symposium Date

Spring 5-3-2019


The United States boasts more ethnic diversity than other countries, largely due to numerous waves of immigration. As a relatively heterogeneous nation, there is a wide variety of opinions when it comes to the morality and legality of immigration, especially within the two-party system. Certain ethnic groups may face more animosity than others during the immigration process. The purpose of this study is to investigate whether one's perceived genetic diversity has a relationship to support for immigration, including from Europe, South America and Mexico, Asia, and Africa. It is predicted that if one thinks they are more diverse, they may be more sympathetic to those immigrant groups with shared identity. Measured variables of interest include Need for Closure, Right Wing Authoritarianism, and Social Dominance Orientation. Need for Closure measures one's preference towards order, structure, and routine in life. Right Wing Authoritarianism measures one's opinions on following norms and authority figures. Social Dominance Orientation concerns one's support for social hierarchies, or one group having power over another. We believe that scoring higher on these items will predict greater beliefs in Biological Determinism, or the belief that certain groups are genetically superior in ability, as well as lower levels of perceived genetic diversity. Finally, Need for Closure, RWA, and SDO may predict less support for immigrant values and immigration overall, especially for undocumented immigrants. The information from this study will be used to inform how attitudes towards one's own diversity may predict support for others' diversity.

Biographical Information about Author(s)

Professor Wetherell is a social psychologist who studies stereotypes and their impact on public policy, ideological conflict, and ideology as a source of meaning. In his spare time, Professor Wetherell enjoys interdisciplinary reading, running, and spending time with his family, wife, dog, cats, chickens, and sometimes bees.

Emily Nelson is a Junior Psychology major interested in pursuing a career in Social Justice. She enjoys studying languages, including Spanish and Japanese, and traveling. Emily currently works in the Office of Multicultural Programs as a student aide, facilitating conversations on diversity and inclusion.

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