Ongoing Projects

Children’s book study

In this project, we are evaluating representation, content, and messages that are present in children’s picture books about race. We are particularly interested in whether children’s books contain evidence-based methods for promoting positive racial identity development and egalitarian racial attitudes. In stage two of this project, we will select exemplar books and causally test whether reading those books influences the development of children’s racial identity or intergroup bias. 

Collaborators: Dr. AnneMarie McClain, Allison Li

Children’s self-reflection

One way to motivate adults to reduce their prejudice is to make them aware of and concerned about their prejudice. Yet little is known about whether awareness of prejudice could influence children’s intergroup behaviors. In this line of research, we are evaluating at what age children are capable of reflecting on their own expressions of prejudice and whether self-reflection can reduce future prejudiced behaviors.

Collaborators: Cynthia Jiao

Empowering Behaviors to Address Race with Kids (EMBARK)

We are evaluating a novel intervention to teach White parents how to address race with their White children. We are conducting a longitudinal randomized controlled trial with a national sample of White parents and their 5-7-year-old White children. In the completed pilot study, parents provided overwhelmingly positive feedback about the program and deeply engaged with the intervention materials over the course of the study. Parents also demonstrated increased concern about children’s racial biases and self-efficacy for addressing their children’s racial biases. We are now evaluating longitudinal outcomes with parents and children.

Collaborators: Dr. Kristin Shutts, Dr. Patricia Devine, Eren Fukuda, Nicole Huth, Natalie Sarmiento, Addison Carriere

Measuring children’s racial bias & anti-racism

Drawing by Maddy Henkel

Whether conducting research in laboratory, family, or school contexts, it is critical to have sensitive and meaningful measures and to broaden the measured components of children’s racial cognition. To this end, we are developing and evaluating measures of children’s racial cognition. In one project, we are systematically examining existing measures of racism and anti-racism. In another project, we are expanding the types of measures we have in the field to include measures focused on children’s anti-racism (research led by my graduate student, Cynthia Jiao).

Collaborators: Cynthia Jiao, Eren Fukuda, Dr. Kristin Shutts, Kat Swerbenski, Nicole Huth, Kierin Barnett, Natalie Sarmiento, Maddy Henkel

Children’s responses to structural inequality

In recent years, there has been increased attention to structural causes for inequality. However, little work has examined whether children’s biases are influenced by their understanding of structural inequality. In the present work, we are examining whether structural explanations for inequality reduce children’s intergroup biases, and whether children’s own positions in status hierarchies influence the impact of such explanations.

Collaborators: Cynthia Jiao, Rachel Leshin, Dr. Michael Rizzo