More knowledge equals less belief in Arab stereotypes

A study published in the latest issue of International Studies Perspectives investigates American college students' attitudes towards Arabs. Focusing on government, women, men, and Arabs in general, the authors find that the less students knew about the Arab World, the more likely they were to agree with a negative view of it. Those with higher knowledge of the geography and factual information about theMiddle East held positive portrayals of Arabs. Overall, Arab-Americans rated the Arab World most positively, followed by Asians with the second highest opinion, African-Americans, Hispanics, and lastly White Americans.

A survey and questionnaire was given to university students to assess prejudicial attitudes and their general knowledge of the Middle East. The findings show a correlation between their knowledge and beliefs. One that the authors state, demonstrates that the info-biased American media nourishes part of students' negative attitudes. Previous research has shown that the media in general and news media in particular constitute a significant source of political socialization of youth. "Because of the rapid development and fast paced social and economic transformations in the Arab World of today, the negative portrayals of Arabs by the American Media are not necessarily accurate depictions of Arabs," the authors state. They believe several steps should be taken to eradicate the stereotypes including an Arab media presence in the U.S. with attention to history and culture.

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This study is published in the current issue of International Studies Perspectives. Media wishing to receive a PDF please contact JournalNews@bos.blackwellpublishing.net

International Studies Perspectives publishes articles that bridge the interests of researchers, teachers, and practitioners working within any and all subfields of international studies. It is published on behalf of the International Studies Association.

Kamal Abouchedid is a faculty member in Education and Director of the Office of Tests, Measurements and Evaluation at Notre Dame University, Lebanon. His research falls in the scope of gender, education and ethnic/racial research. Dr. Abouchedid is available for media questions and interviews.

Dr. Ramzi Nasser is an Assistant Professor and Researcher at Notre Dame University . His research interest falls within the scope of attribution theory, lay and social misconcepts, and he has wide interests in social issues where he does research and writing. Dr. Nasser is available for media questions and interviews.

Blackwell Publishing is the world's leading society publisher, partnering with 665 academic and professional societies. Blackwell publishes over 800 journals and, to date, has published more than 6,000 books, across a wide range of academic, medical, and professional subjects.


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