Media Persuasion

Dec. 10, 2004
APA building
750 First Street , NE
Washington D.C., 20002-4242

Approximately 50 high school students from across Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia considered the topic of media persuasion at the third Young Scholars Social Science Summit (YS4) sponsored by the American Psychological Foundation and held Dec. 10 at APA headquarters. YS4 is a prototype talent development model established by the APA Center for Gifted Education Policy (CGEP), in cooperation with Teachers of Psychology in Secondary Schools, the National Association for Gifted Children, the American Anthropological Association and the National Council for Geographic Education.

YS4 is a one-day event that helps talented and motivated high school students interested in the social sciences to develop broader insights and apply their interests to important social topics. Beginning in 2003, YS4 has addressed the topics of organized crime, refugees and — most recently — media persuasion. About 150 students from the greater Washington area have participated in YS4 in teams of approximately three to five per school. Experts from psychology, history, demography, geography, economics, journalism and anthropology have addressed summit topics from their individual disciplinary perspectives in panel sessions and interactive workshops with students and their teachers. The following scholars and professionals participated in the recent YS4:

  • Amy Goldstein — staff writer for The Washington Post, where she covers the White House with an emphasis on domestic policy. In 2002, she was part of a team of Post reporters that was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for national reporting for the newspaper's coverage of the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Her keynote address helped students to understand the issues involved in covering the White House as a reporter. She also served as a master in CGEP's Pinnacle Project and is spending 2004-05 as a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University.

  • Peter Sheras — president of APA's Division 46 (Media Psychology), professor of clinical and school psychology at the University of Virginia's Curry School of Education and licensed clinical psychologist. Dr. Sheras raised awareness as to the ways that television influences our thinking and the need to be more critical consumers of information. He consulted on APA's project with MTV on youth violence prevention. He is also past-president of the Virginia Psychological Association.

  • Fath Davis Ruffins — historian at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History since 1981. She has been curator of African-American history and culture at the Smithsonian. Her long tenure in the Archives Center includes 12 years as the head of the Collection of Advertising History in the National Museum of American History. She presented on the use of racial and ethnic imagery in American advertising and its resulting impact.

  • Marie Price — associate professor of Geography and International Affairs at The George Washington University, where she has taught since 1990. She is currently chair of the Department of Geography. Dr. Price used different maps to show the ways that the recent presidential election can be framed in our minds, comparing the stark contrasts of the "red" and "blue" states with maps that use shades of purple, showing a more realistic continuum of voting behavior.