Media Production Project

A study by researchers from Northwestern University recently published their research on how students in low socio-economic families can be influenced to work harder and overcome academic challenges when they associate doing well in school with obtaining upward mobility later in life. Basing their information from three separate studies, the data from each experiment displays a connection between a strong belief in financial success and doing well in school.

The first study evaluated a group of high school students from a low SES (socio-economic status) background based on whether they believe upward mobility is possible for them, and how motivated they are to succeed academically. Researchers found the students with a stronger belief in being successful later in life obtained higher grades than their peers with pessimistic attitudes about upward mobility.

Study two was conducted on a group of college students, who were asked to complete an academic puzzle, specifically unscramble a series of letters and attempt to form as many words as they could in three minutes. They were surveyed about their perception on upward mobility, and asked to include their family’s household income. The second study found students with lower-SES who were influenced to have a strong belief of socioeconomic mobility tried harder during the academic test than their peers with weaker beliefs.

The final study was done on high school freshmen, who were divided into three groups. Each group was given a different result of a study on economic mobility: the first study claims it is possible, the second study showed it was difficult, and the third group was given nothing so they could be a control group. The students were assessed on the grades they earned since the start of the study. Like the previous studies, the annual family income of each student was taken into consideration to determine people’s socio-economic status. The data from the third study yielded similar results to the other experiments: students of low socio-economic status were more motivated than their affluent peers when told economic mobility was a possibility for them.

My rewrite of the pop culture article included the way the experiments were done, because I personally was not a fan of the initial article for omitting the information about the studies. I think the original article would have been better if the journalist from Science Daily assessed the way the studies were done and showed the audience how the research team obtained their information and did their experiments. I feel the study was well done, but the journalist from Science Daily wrote the article with the intentions to focus on the pop culture aspect of journalism.

I left out most the fluff found in the original article. They chose all their samples based on schools who harbored many low socioeconomic families. I believe the experiment does not allow for causal claims because it was done three times in three separate scenarios. The variables were operationalized by putting participants in certain groups. I do not think the conclusions were generalized because it was done three times. The participants were randomly selected from a group of low socio-economic students.

Throughout the past semester, I was tasked with finding a pop culture article, analyzing the research from the original scholarly article, and now rewriting the pop culture article in my own words. Reading each article gave me a better sense of the various forms of writing that are necessary in the field of psychology. Pop culture articles are designed to be read and comprehended by an audience which generally does not understand jargon and technical terms in psychology. Likewise, the original research article stems from the scientific community seeking to expand our body of knowledge, and thus requires understanding certain lingo to interpret what the researchers are trying to demonstrate.

Journalists in the field of psychology seek to educate the average person by presenting the research found by professionals in the field in a way that can be easily understood by anyone. The topic of psychology has a wide umbrella of subjects, like clinical, cognitive, developmental, and behavioral psychology. Each field contains mountains of information which must be analyzed, researched, and shared in the community among scholars and students alike.

The article I have been analyzing and using as my muse for this project blends both developmental and cognitive psychology. Through implementing the idea that someone from a low SES family can be a better student by believing in economic mobility, modern society may be able to impact the lives of many folks.

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