Jennifer Richeson, Social Psychologist
Social psychologist Jennifer Richeson, a past NSF Graduate Fellowship recipient, is responsible for groundbreaking work in the field of intergroup relations. Since her time as a graduate student at Harvard, she has been studying racial relations, racial bias, and stereotyping. Dr. Richeson uses fMRI scans to examine neurological reactions to interracial meetings. In her most well-known work, she then had participants complete a mentally challenging task after the interaction. A person who appears to be more biased will have a harder time completing the task than one who has less bias. Some have argued that her study is flawed, since we cannot know what a person is thinking, and that she is implying that individuals who show more of a mental drain during the task have a negative association with other races. She has replied back to this argument by saying that using more mental energy during an interaction is not necessarily negative.
Dr. Richeson’s work has been widely recognized and she has received many awards and honors for her research. In 2006, she was awarded the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Fellowship. Only 25 of the awards were given out that year. While employed as an Assistant Professor at Dartmouth, she received two major grants: the Burke Research Initiation Award (2000-2005) and the Faculty Research Fellowship (2005). Richeson, now an Associate Professor at Northwestern, has also received the Louise Kidder Early Career Award and the Illinois Psychological Association’s Award for Outstanding Contributions to Society.
Selected works in chronological order:
- The threat of appearing prejudiced and race-based attentional biases
- Negotiating interracial interactions: Costs, consequences, and possibilities
- When prejudice does not pay: Effects of interracial contact on executive function
- Effects of situational power on automatic racial prejudice
- Who's in Charge? Effects of Situational Roles on Automatic Gender Bias-Statistical Data Included