The challenges of racial, ethnic, and cross-cultural integration are among some of the most contentious and complex of the 21st Century. Research in my lab explores how people navigate diverse environments and the role that everyday interactions play in shaping contemporary intergroup relations.
In one line of research, my colleagues and I are exploring how conscious and nonconscious biases manifest in everyday perceptions and social interactions, with the goal of understanding psychological factors that impact intergroup relations. For instance, in laboratory experiments, my colleagues and I have found that initial interracial and interethnic interactions are remarkably fragile and that even very subtle disruptions in conversation (e.g., a 1-second delay) can fuel biases and undermine both Whites’ and minorities’ interests in intergroup contact. In longitudinal field studies, my colleagues and I have found that superordinate identities, such as a strong university affiliation, can inoculate people against this instability and facilitate the development of cross-group friendships over time. I am currently exploring the extent to which digital forms of communication and social media may fuel or attenuate biases in social judgments.
I am also interested in basic questions about the nature and accuracy of intergroup perception. For example, my colleagues and I are examining how people (mis)construe subtle verbal and nonverbal behavior (e.g., anxiety) in intergroup exchanges. Using dyadic analytical methods, we are also exploring sources of bias and accuracy in intergroup mindreading and whether accuracy improves over time with more intergroup contact. This work has both theoretical and practical implications for understanding the psychological mechanisms that give rise to common misunderstandings, miscommunication, and distrust in intergroup exchanges.
- Culture and Ethnicity
- Emotion, Mood, Affect
- Intergroup Relations
- Internet and Virtual Psychology
- Interpersonal Processes
- Motivation, Goal Setting
- Nonverbal Behavior
- Organizational Behavior
- Person Perception
- Prejudice and Stereotyping
- Social Cognition
Research Group or Laboratory:
- Dovidio, J. F., Pearson, A. R., & Orr, P. (2008). Social psychology and neuroscience: Strange bedfellows or a healthy marriage? Group Processes and Intergroup Relations, 11, 247-263.
- Pearson, A. R., Dovidio, J. F., & Gaertner, S. L. (2009). The nature of contemporary prejudice: Insights from aversive racism. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 3, 314-338.
- Pearson, A. R., Dovidio, J. F., Phills, C, E., & Onyeador, I. N. (2013). Attitude-goal correspondence and interracial interaction: Implications for executive function and impression formation. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 49, 907-914.
- Pearson, A. R., West, T. V., Dovidio, J. F., Powers, S. R., Buck, R., & Henning, R. A. (2008). The fragility of intergroup relations: Divergent effects of delayed audiovisual feedback in intergroup and intragroup interaction. Psychological Science, 19, 1272-1279.
- Pratto, F., Pearson, A. R., Lee, I., & Saguy, T. (2008). Power dynamics in an experimental game. Social Justice Research, 21, 377-407.
- Smith-McLallen, A., Johnson, B. T., Dovidio, J. F., & Pearson, A. R. (2006). Black and white: The role of color bias in implicit race bias. Social Cognition, 24, 46-73.
- West, T. V., Dovidio, J. F., & Pearson, A. R (2014). Accuracy and bias in perceptions of relationship interest for intergroup and intragroup roommates. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 5, 235-242.
- West, T. V., Pearson, A. R., Dovidio, J. F., Shelton, J. N., & Trail, T. E. (2009). Superordinate identity and intergroup roommate friendship development. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 45, 1266-1272.
- Dovidio, J. F., Gaertner, S. L., Pearson, A. R., & Riek, B. M. (2005). Social identities and social context: Social attitudes and personal well-being. In S. R. Thye & E. J. Lawler (Eds.), Advances in group processes: Social identification in groups (pp. 231-260). Oxford, UK: Elsevier.
- Dovidio, J. F., Gaertner, S. L., Penner, L. A., Pearson, A. R., & Norton, W. E. (2009). Aversive racism – How unconscious bias influences behavior: Implications for legal, employment, and health care contexts. In J. L. Chin (Ed.), Diversity in mind and action (pp. 21-37). Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers.
- Dovidio, J. F., Pearson, A. R., Gaertner, S. L., & Hodson, G. (2008). On the nature of contemporary prejudice: From subtle bias to severe consequences. In V. M. Esses & R. A. Vernon (Eds.), Explaining the breakdown of ethnic relations (pp. 41-60). Malden, MA: Blackwell.
- Pearson, A. R., & Dovidio, J. F. (2014). Intergroup fluency: How processing experiences shape intergroup cognition and communication. In J. Forgas, J. Laszlo, & O. Vincze (Eds.), Social cognition and communication (pp. 101-120). New York: Psychology Press.
- Dovidio, J. F., Johnson, J. D., Gaertner, S. L., Pearson, A. R., Saguy, T., & Ashburn-Nardo, L. (2009). Empathy and intergroup relations. In M. Mikulincer & P. R. Shaver (Eds.), Prosocial motives, emotions, and behavior. Washington, DC: APA.
- Contemporary Prejudice
- Critical Inquiry Seminar: "We": The New Science of Social Life
- Introductory Psychology
- Research Design & Methodology
- Social Psychology
Department of Psychology
647 North College Way
Claremont, California 91711
- Work: (909) 621-8418
- Mobile: 860-874-7244