Term of Award

Summer 2019

Degree Name

Master of Science in Experimental Psychology (M.S.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Department

Department of Psychology

Committee Chair

Lawrence Locker

Committee Member 1

Karen Naufel

Committee Member 2

Amy Hackney

Abstract

Despite the severe and often costly consequences associated with severe weather instances, there is a continuing problem with noncompliance to weather warnings. This issue is pervasive, and research has shown a number of factors that are related to weather response (Joslyn & LeClerc, 2013). Further, individuals of a low socioeconomic status (SES) are often disproportionately impacted by severe weather instances, such as hurricanes (Elliot & Pais, 2006). Past research has shown that individuals of a low education level do not understand some aspects (e.g., numerical uncertainty) of a weather warning, suggesting that weather warnings may not be accessible for all people (Grounds & Joslyn, 2018). Further, research into stereotypes has suggested that when individuals are exposed to stereotypes about their groups at either an explicit or implicit level, this may cause deficits in task performance (Steele & Aronson, 1995; Shih, Pittinsky, & Ambady, 1999). Due to the long-held stereotype about individuals of a low SES as financially irresponsible and the constant reference to the “cost” of a hurricane, the present research examined the extent to which SES and SES-based stereotypes influenced weather-related decision making. One-hundred twenty-seven members of the Bulloch County, Georgia and Tift County, Georgia communities participated in this study, and valid data were collected from fifty-six of these participants. Participants were randomly assigned to view the study as a financial decision-making task (task framing condition) or a weather-related decision-making task (control) and were randomly assigned to complete the MacArthur Scale of Subjective Social Status (an implicit stereotype measure) at the beginning (identity saliency condition) or the end (control). Participants then completed measures of weather warning comprehension, self-efficacy, preparedness, and stereotype awareness. Hierarchical moderated regression analyses were conducted for each measure. Results revealed that SES was a significant predictor for self-efficacy and preparedness, such that low SES was predictive of lower self-efficacy and hurricane preparation. This was consistent with my hypothesis. Further, the analyses revealed that task framing, and identity saliency were not predictive of low weather-related decision making. However, it is possible that the stereotype threat manipulation may have not been effective. Future research should consider utilizing the Multi-Threat Framework of stereotype threat to assess stereotype threat in the context of weather-related decision-making.

Research Data and Supplementary Material

Yes

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