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Jennifer Eberhardt

Jennifer Eberhardt

Jennifer Eberhardt

Professor Eberhardt's primary research interests include stereotyping, prejudice, and stigma. She also studies representations of race and behavioral implications in real world settings, such as in schools or police departments. In general, her work divides into two broad programs of study:
  1. The nature of racial categories and their influence on beliefs and stereotyping. In this line of work, she and colleagues explore lay theories about racial categories. For instance, do people consider race to be biological or social? What role do scientific representations of race, such as evolution images, play in the development of individuals’ understandings of race? Another aspect of this work investigates how racial stereotypes impact people’s perceptions of others’ potential for growth. For instance, do negative stereotypes about the intelligence of some groups lead people to believe that members of that group are less able to become smarter even with hard work?
  2. The mutual influence of beliefs about race and perceptual processes. Her recent work in this category explores the impact of dehumanizing associations, such as the African-American / ape association, on visual attention and decision-making. For instance, how does this association change perceptions of guilt and punishment deserved for African-American vs. European-American defendants? Another area of study investigates how beliefs about whether people can change (entity vs. incremental lay theories) impact face perception. Her lab also studies how race influences perceptions of physical spaces, and how spaces can become racialized. Finally, she explores how stereotypes, like the African-American crime stereotype, influence visual perception and attention.