Understanding factors that promote diversity tolerance is crucial in an increasingly globalized society. Earn 2 CE credits for reading an interesting journal article by Butrus and Witenberg. The article presents an empirical study that demonstrates the importance of considering personality factors as differential predictors of tolerance regarding beliefs, speech, and actions. A Certificate of Completion follows reading the article (Butrus, N., & Witenberg, R. T. . Some personality predictors of tolerance to human diversity: The roles of openness, agreeableness, and empathy. Australian Psychologist, 48, 290-298. doi: 10.1111/j.1742-9544.2012.00081.x) and passing an online multiple choice test. Please contact the Director (email@example.com) for help in accessing the article. Introductory level. This course may be applied to the Certificate of Advanced Study in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy if desired. $19.
This journal article is offered as an introductory level course. As a result of this learning activity, the participant will be able to:
The importance of diversity tolerance and respect for other cultures, religions, and ethnicities is receiving attention with an increased sense of urgency. Terrorist threats, genocidal wars, and hate crimes are part of the daily news, while, globally, distances are ever-shrinking and people with diverse backgrounds must cooperate for survival. Exposing people to diverse others has been found to be helpful in many cases, but at times has led to an increase in prejudice instead. This article presents an empirical study to test the roles of several intrapersonal factors–openness, agreeableness, and dispositional empathy–as potential predictors of diversity tolerance in university students.
The study creatively addressed the complex constructs. First, what is meant by diversity tolerance is complex. Diversity tolerance is not merely the opposite of prejudice. Diversity tolerance may involve acceptance of others’ diverse beliefs, speech, and/or actions, each of which may be determined by different factors. A person high in empathy may be tolerant of others’ intolerant beliefs, for example, as long as the beliefs are not acted upon in a negative way. Conversely, a person high in the personality factor of openness may be especially sensitive to others’ belief systems. Empathy is also a complex construct, with both cognitive and affective components. It may be surmised that cognitive empathy (i.e., perspective-taking) may promote tolerance, but how important is it relative to such affective components as empathic concern?
In the study described in this article, over 100 university students responded to vignettes that described accepting and intolerant beliefs, speech, and actions. They also completed personality assessments of their openness and agreeableness and a measure of dispositional empathy. Openness, agreeableness, and various aspects of empathy (perspective-taking, empathic concern, and personal distress) were found differentially to predict various aspects of diversity tolerance.
The findings could have important implications. More research is needed to continue to identify factors that may be important to address in designing successful interventions. This study represents a valuable step in this direction.
The article was authored by psychologists Ninawa Butrus, PhD and Rivka Witenberg, PhD, who are both affiliated with Australian Catholic University and have published extensively in the area. Marylie W. Gerson, PhD selected the article and prepared the course description and learning assessment for it.
Dr. Gerson received her PhD from Princeton University and has taught extensively at undergraduate, graduate, and post-doctoral levels for several decades. She is a long-standing member of the American Psychological Association, is a psychology professor emeritus at California Lutheran University, and maintains an active clinical practice as a licensed psychologist. Tolerance and openness to diversity have been particular research interests of hers for many years, and have been the topic of a number of her publications (e.g., Gerson & Neilson, 2014) and national conference presentations. She was twice nominated as Diversity Professor of the Year and has served as a mentor for underrepresented first year students at California Lutheran University, an Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI). Her empirically-based program to build resilience in young adults (Gerson & Fernandez, 2013) has been used with underrepresented and minority students, and she has conducted empirical research on the roles of culture and ethnicity as they may impact the predictors of resilience and life satisfaction in adults (e.g., Gerson, Beeson, & Towe, 2021; Towe, Gerson, & Beeson, 2021).
Please contact the Director (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you would like help in accessing the article.
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The course consists of the journal article below, available from the publisher.
Butrus, N., & Witenberg, R. T. (2013). Some personality predictors of tolerance to human diversity: The roles of openness, agreeableness, and empathy. Australian Psychologist, 48, 290-298. doi: 10.1111/j.1742-9544.2012.00081.x.
If you or your institution do not subscribe to the journal, please contact the Director at firstname.lastname@example.org for help in accessing the article.
An online multiple choice test and Certificate of Completion are provided for 2 CE credits. Introductory level. This course may be applied to our Certificate of Advanced Study in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy if desired. $19.