This article on msnbc.com presents a summary of research by Dr. Dacher Keltner on differences in empathy and social reasoning between upper- and lower-class Americans.
1. The article describes several studies from Dr. Keltner's and other scientists' labs. Give three distinct examples of studies described in the article. Do these studies represent replications of each other? If so, which kind? (direct replications, conceptual replications, or replication-plus-extensions? See Ch. 13). Do you think these studies constitute a "literature" on social class? Why or why not?
2. If you have access to a university's library, you could look for the original article in Current Directions in Psychological Science that the journalist is summarizing. Does the journalist do a responsible job representing the original article? What, if anything, does the journalist leave out?
3. One example from the article describes this result:
"In video recordings of conversations, rich people are more likely to appear distracted, checking cell phones, doodling, avoiding eye contact, while low-income people make eye contact and nod their heads more frequently signaling engagement."
Can you picture how the above study might have been conducted? How might the data set have been set up? (See Chapter 7 for ideas). How was the distraction variable in this study probably operationalized? What questions can you ask about this measure's construct validity? What do you think about this measure's face validity as a measure of distraction?
4. In this quote, Dr. Keltner presents an example of a mediator:
"Unlike the rich, lower class people have to depend on others for survival, Keltner argued. So they learn “prosocial behaviors.” They read people better, empathize more with others, and they give more to those in need."
Following examples from Chapter 8 in the text, how might you sketch this mediation path? What four steps would Dr. Keltner have to follow in order to support this argument?