Project Title

Attitudes Toward Immigrants and Immigration Issues

Presenters

Academic department under which the project should be listed

RCHSS - Psychological Science

Faculty Sponsor Name

Amy Buddie

Abstract (300 words maximum)

In recent years, immigration has become an increasingly important and hotly debated topic in the United States. Americans’ attitudes toward immigrants vary considerably, from highly positive (e.g., immigrants contribute valuable outside perspectives to our country) to highly negative (e.g., immigrants are an economic burden and increase crime rates in our communities), and these views affect support for or dissent toward governmental policies (e.g., deportation of undocumented immigrants, construction of a physical barrier at the U.S.- Mexico border). Researchers in various fields have investigated why some people react negatively to immigrants, but there is less research exploring factors that correlate with positive or ambivalent attitudes. Our goal is to examine attitudes toward immigrants and immigration issues from psychological, political, and economic perspectives: Do U.S.-born citizens and immigrants differ in their knowledge, attitudes, and positive or negative associations with immigrants and immigration? We expect immigrants and children and grandchildren of immigrants will outperform U.S.-born citizens on the knowledge test. We also expect individuals with negative immigration attitudes will score lower on the knowledge test compared to those with positive attitudes. Consistent with previous research, we expect negative views toward immigrants will be positively correlated with conservatism and a strong American identity, and people with negative views will respond more negatively to undocumented vs. documented immigrants. We predict positive views toward immigrants will be positively correlated with liberalism and a feeling of being a global citizen, and people with positive attitudes will not have significantly different attitudes toward documented and undocumented immigrants. Finally, we will examine participants’ word associations with immigrants and whether they are generally positive, negative, ambivalent, or neutral. This study will help us understand how our campus community views immigrants, and more broadly, it will provide insight about some factors that may be associated with positivity toward immigrants.

Project Type

Poster

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Attitudes Toward Immigrants and Immigration Issues

In recent years, immigration has become an increasingly important and hotly debated topic in the United States. Americans’ attitudes toward immigrants vary considerably, from highly positive (e.g., immigrants contribute valuable outside perspectives to our country) to highly negative (e.g., immigrants are an economic burden and increase crime rates in our communities), and these views affect support for or dissent toward governmental policies (e.g., deportation of undocumented immigrants, construction of a physical barrier at the U.S.- Mexico border). Researchers in various fields have investigated why some people react negatively to immigrants, but there is less research exploring factors that correlate with positive or ambivalent attitudes. Our goal is to examine attitudes toward immigrants and immigration issues from psychological, political, and economic perspectives: Do U.S.-born citizens and immigrants differ in their knowledge, attitudes, and positive or negative associations with immigrants and immigration? We expect immigrants and children and grandchildren of immigrants will outperform U.S.-born citizens on the knowledge test. We also expect individuals with negative immigration attitudes will score lower on the knowledge test compared to those with positive attitudes. Consistent with previous research, we expect negative views toward immigrants will be positively correlated with conservatism and a strong American identity, and people with negative views will respond more negatively to undocumented vs. documented immigrants. We predict positive views toward immigrants will be positively correlated with liberalism and a feeling of being a global citizen, and people with positive attitudes will not have significantly different attitudes toward documented and undocumented immigrants. Finally, we will examine participants’ word associations with immigrants and whether they are generally positive, negative, ambivalent, or neutral. This study will help us understand how our campus community views immigrants, and more broadly, it will provide insight about some factors that may be associated with positivity toward immigrants.