Middle School Learning and Beliefs about a Just System: Research Report & Caveats
Erin Godfrey, PhD
In this program - another one focused on the impact of deep beliefs - Dr. Erin Godfrey will describe a research study investigating the impact of student beliefs about that the "fairness" of American society ("system justification") on student learning in middle school. The study is "For Better or Worse? System‐Justifying Beliefs in Sixth‐Grade Predict Trajectories of Self‐Esteem and Behavior Across Early Adolescence." This study of 257 students in one middle school found that sixth-grade students in the school studied who believed the "American System" was fair had higher self-esteem, less delinquent behavior and better classroom behavior, but these results declined as the students progressed through eighth grade. We will look at both the implications and a number of caveats about conclusions to be drawn from this research, including, "More research is needed."
Erin Godfrey is associate professor of Applied Psychology in the Psychology and Social Intervention program in the Steinhardt School of Culture, Development, and Education.
She uses theories and methods form social, developmental and community psychology to examine how individuals interact with, understand, and are influenced by the social, economic and political systems in which they are embedded.
Erin’s work is primarily focused on the United States and low-and-middle-income countries (particularly South Africa) and has been funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), National Institute for Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) and the American Psychological Foundation (APF).
Erin received her BA in Psychology and Policy from Oberlin College and her PhD in Community, and Developmental Psychology from New York University’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. She was formerly a research associate at The Urban Institute in Washington, DC.
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