A Sampling of Research Projects

Art by Madeline Henkel

Art by Madeline Henkel

Empowering Behaviors to Address Race with Kids (EmBARK)

I designed and have been evaluating an intervention to teach White parents how to address race with their White children. I am conducting longitudinal randomized controlled trials with national samples 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 self-efficacy for addressing their children's racial biases. I co-wrote a funded R01 and am now leading a full-scale study evaluating a revised version of the intervention.  

Scott, Shutts, & Devine, 2020, Perspectives on Psychological Science. 

On the Road to Discovery: Building a Measurement Toolkit to Address Race-Based Disparities in Preschool Discipline Practices
school pic.jpeg

Across the U.S., racial disparities in school discipline begin as early as the preschool years with Black children being three times more likely to be suspended than White children. In this project, Sandy Waxman, Onnie Rogers, Terri Sabol, and I are developing a toolkit of measures to document the spectrum of preschool classroom disciplinary practices and how these practices relate to children's school experiences. Our overall goal is to help teachers and children unlearn racial biases that lead to disciplinary disparities in early childhood education. 

White Parents' Beliefs about their Children's Biases
Father and Children

Do White parents think children express racial bias? Are parents concerned about children's racial bias? How can we increase parents' awareness, concern about, and motivation to address children's biases? This line of research focuses on how White parents think about children's racial biases and how we can motivate parents to engage with their children about race-related issues. 

Scott, Shutts, & Devine, 2020, Child Development

Scott, Ash, Immel, Liebeck, Devine, & Shutts, 2022 Child Development

On Parenting and Race (On PAR)
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Did Black and White parents talk to their children about Black Lives Matter (BLM) in the aftermath of the 2020 racial justice movement? If so, what did they discuss and did discussions vary based on parent race? In collaboration with Onnie Rogers, David Chae, Andrew Meltzoff, and three undergraduate students, I conducted a qualitative analysis of Black and White parents’ conversations about BLM with their 8- to 11-year-old children. Black parents were significantly more likely than White parents to address BLM with their child. Amongst parents who discussed BLM, Black parents were more likely than White parents to acknowledge inequity and affirm the importance of Black lives. In contrast, White parents were significantly more likely than Black parents to provide colorblind explanations for BLM (e.g., “I explained that God created us equally”).

Rogers, Scott, Wintz, Eisenman, Dorsi, Chae, & Meltzoff, in prep

Laboratory Interventions Addressing Bias

By evaluating the origins and mechanisms of gender and racial bias in childhood, I learn strategies that may be effective for reducing children's social biases in the real-world. This research has demonstrated the multitude of forces leading to the creation and perpetuation of children's biases. Additionally, I have shown the limitations associated with one-shot interventions targeting bias when one's goal is to produce effects that generalize beyond the laboratory context. 

King, Scott, Renno, & Shutts, 2020, JECP. 

Measuring Children's Social Cognition

Art by Madeline 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, I have developed measures of children’s racial cognition and examined the psychometric properties of existing measures of children’s social cognition. For example, in one project, I designed a measure assessing children’s interpersonal anti-racism (i.e., confrontation of a perpetrator of bias). With age and with more parent-reported racial socialization, children were more likely to engage in anti-racism. 

Scott, Henkel, Moens, Devine, & Shutts, under review

Scott, King, Cochrane, Kalish, & Shutts, revise and resubmit

Prejudice Habit-Breaking Intervention

Devine and colleagues (e.g., Devine et al., 2012, JESP) have designed and evaluated an intervention focused on empowering adults to overcome their unintentional bias. In a series of studies that I have both led and collaborated on, we evaluate the necessary components for reducing bias, behavioral outcomes of the intervention, and additions to the intervention to increase anti-racist behaviors. 

Cox, Dix, Scott, & Devine, 2019, SPSP Talk.

Scott, Bruun, Ash, Dix, & Devine, paper in prep