Date of Submission

Spring 2017

Academic Programs and Concentrations


Project Advisor 1

Thomas Hutcheon

Abstract/Artist's Statement

In 1970 Chester Pierce identified the term microaggressions as subtle insults toward African-American students that could be intentional or unintentional, conscious or subconscious, and verbal or nonverbal. In recent years following some of Pierce’s work, researchers have begun focusing on what exactly constitutes as a micro aggression, which spaces this form of racism manifest and the various effects it has victims. Most of the past findings indicate that microaggressions have detrimental effects to mental health and even effects students in educational settings. The current study aimed to explore whether microaggressions have immediate effects on self-esteem, mood, attitudes toward a professor and awareness of microaggressions when presented to students in a classroom. It was hypothesized that the micro aggression condition would show lower levels across all variables. The study consisted of two conditions: a neutral and microaggressed condition. Both groups were shown a video of a professor explain a successful college experience with one of the videos including five microaggressions followed by a survey measuring the variables of the research question immediately administered after the video. The current study only found students in the microaggressed group to have more negative attitudes toward the professor than in the neutral condition with no significance differences in self-esteem and mood. Yet, past studies have found microaggressions to be predictor variables of things such as self-esteem, anger and social anxiety. Taking into account the current study, one implication is that an accumulation of microaggressions may have larger impacts on individuals than one-time interactions. However, further research should be done exploring factors that are immediately influenced by microaggressions and lead to more long-term effects.

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