Social psychologist Dr. Jennifer L. Eberhardt is fascinated by the ways ingrained stereotypes can affect our visual perception, attention, memory, and behavior. Through interdisciplinary collaborations, unprecedented access to data, and a wide-ranging array of methods—from laboratory studies to novel field experiments—Dr. Eberhardt has revealed the startling and often dispiriting extent to which racial imagery and judgments take root in our brains, suffuse our culture and society, and shape actions and outcomes within the criminal justice system.
Through her innovative experiments, Dr. Eberhardt has shown not only that police officers are more likely to identify African American faces as criminal than white faces, but that the race-crime association leads people to attend more closely to crime-related imagery. For example, in one experiment, people who were exposed to black faces were more quickly able to identify a blurred image of a gun than those who were exposed to white faces or no faces. She quantified the devastating effects of race-crime association outside the laboratory through experiments that showed a correlation between the appearance of African American defendants and the severity of their sentencing.
Dr. Eberhardt believes the problems associated with race are ones we have created, but they are also ones we can solve. She has recently begun to work with law enforcement agencies to help them improve policing by building and maintaining trust within the communities they serve. Inspired by Silicon Valley innovation, she aims to combine social psychological insights with technology to improve outcomes in the criminal justice system and beyond.
In her book, Biased: Uncovering the Hidden Prejudice that Shapes What We See, Think, and Do , Dr. Eberhardt offers a reasoned look into the effects of implicit racial bias, offers practical suggestions for reform, and takes the reader behind the scenes to police departments implementing her strategies.
Her eye-opening lectures draw not only from her state-of-the-art laboratory experiments, but from research she has conducted in courtrooms, prisons, police departments, boardrooms, and on the street.
Dr. Eberhardt is a professor of psychology at Stanford and a recipient of a 2014 MacArthur ‘Genius’ Grant. She has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and was named one of Foreign Policy‘s 100 Leading Global Thinkers.
She also is co-founder and co-director of SPARQ (Social Psychological Answers to Real-World Questions), a Stanford Center that brings together researchers and practitioners to address significant social problems.