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January 13, 2010

Telephone Lecture Series with Professor Catherine Sanderson

Professor Catherine Sanderson


"Why I’m Not as Thin or as Smart as You Think I Am:  An Examination of Factors That Lead to the Misperception of Valued Social Norms"


Listen to the audio file below (lecture only), or download the MP3

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(lecture only).

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Q&A Session with Professor Catherine Sanderson

Listen to the audio from the Q&A session below, or download the MP3

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Please feel free to continue the discussion by adding a comment below (alumni, you must log-in to post a comment).


Thanks, Prof. Sanderson, and thanks, Amherst!

This was a terrific lecture and discussion of an issue particularly of interest to alumni with teenage and pre-teen kids.  Very informative and thought-provoking!

I have a follow-up question.  The focus of the research seems to be on the difference between the perceptions and the reality about what most others in the peer group are doing/experiencing.  But are people's perceptions really focused on what most of their peers are doing/experiencing or, rather, on what's going on with the aspirational sub-group in which they want to be considered a member (e.g., the most physically attractive)?  I suspect that most people are less focused on what's going on with the average member of their larger peer group than they are with what's going on within whatever their "aspirational sub-group(s)" (i.e., the group(s) in which they want to be considered a member (e.g., "the most attractive or smartest or whatever... men/women on campus")) happens to be.  I would think that college students -- particularly those at a highly-selective college -- the focus of their perceptions would be on their desired sub-group, not their class, or the entire student body, as a whole.  Does your research address this sort of focus on the differences, if any, between perceptions and reality vis-a-vis such aspirational sub-groups?

The conference-call format was a nice first step.  A live webinar with the ability to use visual aids and/or multi-media (e.g., recorded interviews with students who participated in Prof. Sanderson's research and/or classes) with live chat as a way to submit and view Q&A might offer an even more powerful approach in the future.

Thanks again for this terrific lecture and discussion!


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