Social psychologist Jennifer Richeson, whose research into intergroup interactions has created a much deeper understanding of inequality and racism in the United States, will receive the 2020 SAGE-CASBS Award. Established in 2013, the award – sponsored by SAGE Publishing and the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University — recognizes outstanding achievement in the behavioral and social sciences that advance our understanding of pressing social issues.
Her pandemic-delayed lecture, “The Mythology of Racial Progress,” will be delivered on April 21, 2022 (details below).
Richeson, the Philip R. Allen Professor of Psychology at Yale University, has generated original insights into the cognitive, affective, and behavioral dynamics of intergroup interactions – some of which shape basic mind and brain processes related to memory, attention, and decision-making. Most of her work examines ways in which gender, race, and socio-economic status influence how people think, perceive, and behave, particularly when they interact with members of different sociocultural groups. This includes investigating how people from both culturally devalued groups and traditionally dominant groups experience and respond to societal diversity, inequality, and injustice, as well as exploring both the antecedents and consequences of prejudice and stereotyping.
Her studies on the effects of demographics on political attitudes – showing that politically independent white Americans who gain greater awareness of the relative decline of whites in the population reveal increasingly conservative attitudes – have received high-profile media coverage and stimulated public discussion.
She is actively translates basic scientific research into applied knowledge and practice, for example serving as a Faculty Fellow at Yale’s Institution for Social and Policy Studies, affiliating with the Stone Center on Socioeconomic Inequality at CUNY, and serving as an executive committee member on the Societal Experts Action Network, part of the National Academies.
In recent years, Richeson wrote opinion articles and commentaries appearing in the Washington Post, Boston Globe, and Foreign Affairs. A recent essay in The Atlantic explores an “enduring narrative” about the “mythology of racial progress” in the United States that distorts our perception of reality. She currently is developing this theme in a book-length manuscript.
“Thanks to Jennifer’s superb past and continuing contributions, we better understand not only the psychology of racism, but also the dynamics of intergroup conflicts and inequality in general, permitting us to better detect and confront these social ills,” said CASBS director Margaret Levi. “CASBS shares her deep and abiding commitment to realizing the promise of culturally diverse environments and building more equitable communities for both individual and societal flourishing. We’re proud to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with her in this pursuit.”
Richeson’s work has garnered her numerous awards and honors, including a 2007 John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Fellowship (known as the “genius award”), a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship (2015), the Mamie Phipps Clark and Kenneth B. Clark Distinguished Lecture Award from Columbia University (2019), the Career Trajectory Award from the Society of Experimental Social Psychology (2019), and a Carnegie Foundation Senior Fellowship (2020). Richeson received an honorary doctorate from Brown University, her undergraduate alma mater, in 2019. She is an elected fellow of the Society of Experimental Social Psychology, the American Psychological Association, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the National Academy of Sciences.
The Mythology of Racial Progress: SAGE-CASBS Award lecture
Thursday, April 21, 2022. Reception at 5 pm. Talk from 5:30 – 6:30 pm
This free lecture takes place live at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University 75 Alta Road, Stanford, CA 94305
Our perceptions of, beliefs about, and solutions for, racial inequality in the United States are shaped, at least in part, by a mythology of racial progress. Central to this mythology is the dominant narrative that American society is automatically, if not naturally, making steady linear progress toward racial equality. In this talk, Jennifer Richeson argues that our fidelity to this narrative elicits a persistent pattern of willful ignorance regarding some present-day racial disparities, including the wealth gap between Black and white Americans. Richeson will illuminate the psychological science that sustains the narrative as well as some of the consequences of efforts to disrupt it. She also will discuss implications of the mythology of racial progress for efforts to engender actual racial equity in contemporary society.