Could Shaughnessy Have Been More Holistic in Her Approach?

Born in 1924 to a father who didn’t finish high school and a mother with a two-year teaching certificate, Mina Shaughnessy earned her BA & MA from prestigious private universities: Northwestern and Columbia, respectively. For financial reasons, she did not pursue a Ph.D. Her modest rural roots, her reputable education, and her own frustration at not feeling free to attain the highest academic achievement provide context for the pioneering work she did at the end of her relatively short life in 1978, a year before Errors and Expectations was published.

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A novel use of Twitter Bots to study prejudice

Check out this Political Science study that uses Twitter Bots to assess responses to sanctions for racists tweets. This is really relevant to the topics we will cover in the last few weeks of the course. The author writes:

I employ an intervention designed to reduce the use of anti-black racist slurs by white men on Twitter. I collect a sample of Twitter users who have harassed other users and use accounts I control (“bots”) to sanction the harassers. By varying the identity of the bots between in-group (white man) and out-group (black man) and by varying the number of Twitter followers each bot has, I find that subjects who were sanctioned by a high-follower white male significantly reduced their use of a racist slur.

If you are interested in this topic and/or methodology, the paper is worth a read. I put it in our Group Files. You can skip over the lit review, which is very PoliSci, and read the methodology section, which is really translatable across disciplines. The results are much more nuanced than the abstract, including the fact that a significant percentage of the users had a reaction to out-group comments, causing them to increase their harassment.