Affective Realism?

Is seeing believing?  It’s natural to feel that when we observe events, or conduct lengthy interviews to learn what people saw or heard, we’re learning about the social world as it “really is.”  But recent experiments by psychologists demonstrate a direct impact of feelings on perceptions:  People who feel unpleasant in turn perceive others as less likable, less competent, more likely to commit a crime, and so on.  In other words, what we “see” or otherwise perceive is shaped in part by your predictions about the world around you.

Drs. Lisa Feldman Barrett and Jolie Wormwood connect these research findings to troubling questions about police shootings.  Read more at: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/19/opinion/sunday/when-a-gun-is-not-a-gun.html

Do these findings make you less trusting of qualitative methods?

Can you imagine ways of designing qualitative research to lessen these problems?

Do you think the impact of “affective realism” would be greater in qualitative or in quantitative research projects?

Does use of scientific methods lessen the problem of affective realism, or just obscure it?

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