Student Scholar Symposium Abstracts and Posters

Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 12-9-2015

Faculty Advisor(s)

Ann Gordon


Popular opinion among American citizens would attest that the United States should promote the restriction of nuclear weapons being developed. While other nations already have or are developing nuclear weapons, Iran continues to dominate the conversation. It may be possible that the prolonged focus on Iranian nuclear weapons development could be the result of past American intervention, but the United States has not directly attacked Iran since 1988. While the past has impacted opinion, it is not because of Iran itself. After the events of September 11th, 2001 and the wars in the Middle East, American paranoia has emerged in racial forms. This paper will analyze both the opinions of Americans regarding the existence of a naturally violent behavior in Muslims as well as the whether or not Iran is developing nuclear weapons as well as a possible American response to the development, with polling dating back to the 2012 national election. Primarily due to the biases of the past fourteen years, it is expected that the analysis will reveal that Americans who have a stronger opinion of agreement when asked if the stereotype of Muslims being violent is true will more likely believe that not only that Iran is developing violent weaponry, but additionally that the United States must take stronger, military based action against Iran to combat the development of nuclear weapons. Overall, this paper discusses how stereotypes impact popular opinion and feelings towards the actions of others along with its impact on foreign policy aims of the United States government.


Presented at the Fall 2015 Student Research Day at Chapman University.