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Carolyn Sherif (1922-1982)

Carolyn Sherif (1922-1982)

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Carolyn Sherif (1922-1982)

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  1. Carolyn Sherif(1922-1982) Michael Anderson Elizabeth Risch David Ware

  2. Learning Objectives • Know the historical antecedents that influenced Sherif • Understand the zeitgeist in which her ideas were developed • Know the obstacle/struggles she faced • Become familiar with selected works • Identify the strengths & weaknesses of her ideas/theories • Understand her influence on the field

  3. Overview • Personal/Professional Background • Historical Background • Review of selected works • Summary & integration

  4. Learning Objectives • Historical Antecedents • Zeitgeist • Professional/Personal Struggles

  5. Her Early Life • Born June 26, 1922 in Indiana. Her father was a professor at Purdue University and mother was a high-school science teacher • Sang on radio show in high school • Attended Purdue in an experimental program for female science majors • Financed college working at a bookstore, a radio station, and as a paid singer in a church quartet

  6. Graduate Studies • In undergrad, she wrote a play the US treasury used to sell war bonds • Curious about the effect this play had on audiences’ attitudes towards the war; led to her interest in psychology • Obtained Master’s degree in psychology at University of Iowa • Opportunities due to lack of men (off to war)

  7. Early Career • Offered a job at an RCA plant to decrease turnover and increase attendance • She declined • 1st job- Collecting data on potential movies at Audience Research Inc. at Princeton • She was not impressed! • “Monday morning declaration of love…”

  8. Back to school… • Primary interest in attitudinal research • Desire to work with Muzafer Sherif • Princeton does not allow women to enroll • Works with Sherif while commuting to Columbia University in New York • Muzafer is very prominent at this time • Research with Muzafer became her focus

  9. Married Life • Dec. 1945- She and Muzafer are married • Luckily he had been released from Turkish prison • 1947- Has first daughter • 1947-1958- Works with Muzafer at University of Oklahoma • 1950- has second daughter • 1955- has third daughter • 1958- begins doctoral work at University of Texas

  10. Professional Career • 1961- earned Ph.D. from University of Oklahoma • 1961-1965- published four books with Muzafer • Teaches Oklahoma Medical School and Sociology Dept. of OU • 1965- Penn State offered Tenure track positions to both Carolyn and Muzafer

  11. Effect of the Women’s Movement • “To me, the atmosphere created by the women’s movement was like breathing fresh air after years of gasping for breath. If anyone believes that I credit it too much for changes in my own life, I have only this reply: I know I did not become a significantly better social psychologist between 1969 and 1972, but I surely was treated as a better social psychologist.” (Sherif, 1983)

  12. Effect of the Women’s Movement • Research contributions during 1945-1961 not well documented • “A careful historian will recognize that both of us were involved in everything published under the name Sherif after 1945. In several instances, when Muzafer asked me to appear as co-author, instead of in footnote or preface, I declined, a tendency that persisted into the 1960s. I would not do so again. I now believe that the world which viewed me as a wife who probably typed her husband’s papers (which I did not) defined me to myself more than I realized.”

  13. Effect of the Women’s Movement • President of APA division 35, Psychology of Women in 1979 • Orientation in Social Psychology • Book on the effect of one’s social status • Study and publish on gender • Bias in Psychology, 1994 • Recognition of her work • Fellow of APA, 1976 • Distinguished publication award, 1979 • Distinguished contributions to Education in Psychology, 1982

  14. Historical Antecedents • Male dominated academia • Unable to attend Princeton • WWII • Personal interest in psychology • Created opportunities for women • Shaped her research interests • Women’s Movement • Led her to research on gender and social status • Gained recognition for works

  15. Learning Objectives • Selected works • Strengths & weakness of her research/theories • Influence on the field

  16. Dave’s Presentation

  17. Sherif (1973) • Social distance - assesses relative intimacy/rejection between members of diverse groups • Studied degree of ego-involvement of AA students in inter-racial interaction as a function of previous/current white contacts • Hypothesis - lower the probability of AA-white interaction & stronger the ties with AA reference groups, the lower AA student’s ego-involvement in interaction

  18. Method • Participants judge advisability that an AA student decide to interact with white individuals in a series of situations & classify into categories • Persons highly involved use fewer categories than those less involved • Latitude of noncommitment - categories left unlabeled; size inversely related to issue involvement

  19. Predicted Order # Cat’s LNC AA independent M (LU) 2.80 0 AA independent F (LU) 3.50 1.30 AA fraternity M (LU) 4.67 3.44 AA fraternity F (LU) 5.57 4.56 W-M 4.53 12.97 W-F 4.75 20.49 AA independent M (SC) 4.05 21.31 AA independent F (SC) 3.72 11.87 AA fraternity M (SC) 4.53 26.00 AA fraternity F (SC) 4.86 23.45 Results

  20. Discussion • Attitudes are related to one’s reference groups & interaction situations encountered • AA social fraternity served as insulating function • Own categories method holds promise for truly social-psychological study of individual attitudes

  21. Influence on Field • Developed singular, coherent approach to social psychology • Argued psychology perpetuated myths about women’s inferior position • Argued human behavior best understood by studying the entire context • Integrated study of specific attitudes with overall structure of self-system • Demonstrated that as individuals make personal commitments, they develop categories for perceiving social world

  22. Summary • Change in attitudes during WWII spawned interest in attitudes • Sherif (1973) • Personal struggles and women’s movement led to interest in gender issues • Sherif (1982) • First psychologist to integrate attitudes with self-concept • Inspired future research on gender-related issues

  23. References • Harvey, O. J. (1989). Muzafer Sherif (1906-1988), American Psychologist, 44, 1325-1326. • Koesterer, M. (n.d.). Dr. Carolyn Wood Sherif: (1922-1982). Unpublished manuscript. • Sherif, C. W. (1992). Bias in psychology. In J. S. Bohan. (Ed.), Seldom Seen, Rarely Heard: Women’s Place in Psychology (pp. 107-146). Boulder, CO: Westview Press. • Sherif, C. W. (1983). Carolyn Wood Sherif. In O’Connell, A. N. & Russon, N. F. (Eds.), Models of Achievement: Reflections of Eminent Women in Psychology (pp 279-293). New York: Columbia University Press. • Sherif, C. W. (1982). Needed concepts in the study of gender identity, Psychology of Women Quarterly, 6, 375-395. • Sherif, C. W. (1982). Social and Psychological bases of social psychology. In A. G. Kraut (Ed.), G. Stanley Hall Lecture Series, Vol. 2 (pp. 9-72). Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association • Sherif, C. W., Kelly, M., Rodgers, H. L., Sarup, G., & Tittler, B. (1973). Personal involvement, social judgment, and action, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 27, 311-328. • Sherif, C. W., (1973). Social distance as categorization of intergroup interaction. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 67, 148-156. • Sherif, M., & Sherif, C. W. (1967). The adolescent in his group in its setting. In M. Sherif (Ed.), Social Interaction (pp. 247-312). Chicago, IL: Aldine Publishing Co.