A 2010 paper by Assistant Professor of Psychology Jessica Good was the most downloaded article that year from the Journal of Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology. Good's article, titled "Sources of Self-Categorization as Minority for Mixed-Race Individuals: Implications for Affirmative Action Entitlement," was written in collaboration with colleagues from Rutgers University, and concerns a survey study that took place between 2008 and 2009.
One of Good's areas of expertise is social identity. The study looked at factors that predict whether part-White multiracial individuals categorize themselves as "Minority" or as "White," and how that affects whether they see themselves as eligible for affirmative action resources.
In looking at whether or not a part-White multiracial individual would identify with the privileged majority group or the underprivileged minority group, Good and her colleagues looked not only at physical characteristics, but at "emotional or affective connections" to the two groups.
The study concluded that feelings of connectedness to the minority community were the strongest predictor of racial self-categorization, even over physical appearance.
Good said it was important that the paper also shows that racial self-categorization predicts perceived eligibility for affirmative action resources. "Students who have a mixed-race background should likely be eligible for merit-based diversity scholarships, but may not necessarily see themselves as eligible if they don't strongly identify with the minority group," she said.
The research, therefore, aims at understanding racial self-identification and its consequences. The large number of downloads indicates that her peers in the academy have a strong interest in the topic. Good said, "It's important to keep in mind that although it's very nice to be downloaded, it's not the same thing as being cited...Downloading is hopefully a precursor to citation, but that isn't always true."
However, Good and her colleagues are both honored and excited by the news. With several other publications in the works in a variety of psychology journals, Good noted, "It's exciting when you work hard on something to think that other people are at least interested in the topic, let alone reading your article."