Collaborative research focuses on reducing discrimination
RELEASED: August 9, 2007
"With our research, Dr. Brown and I were looking to devise a training program that would increase people's empathy," Daughtridge says. "In this case, we focused on building empathy for black Americans.
"With an increase in empathy we would expect a decrease in prejudice and discriminatory behavior. Research has found that discrimination is still present in many areas, including the U.S. corporate world. Our motivation was to see if an empathy training program could be a solution to this significant problem."
The empathy training program consisted of subjects watching a clip from a documentary that featured the readings of slave diaries and personal accounts of the slave buying-and-selling process. The subjects then participated in a mock job interview on the phone with Brown, in which they were treated rudely and were discriminated against. Brown says this role-play exercise was meant to simulate an experience of a black American.
The effectiveness of these two activities was measured by the physiological response of the subjects as they watched a video clip showing discriminatory tactics against black Americans. The physiological responses were compared to those of the control group, which watched a neutral video clip and participated in the mock job interview but were treated kindly and politely.
Brown and Daughtridge said that the initial results of their research show that the experimental group showed higher levels of physiological stress response to the discrimination clip.
One of the hallmarks of a Centre education is the opportunity for students to participate in collaborative research. This research often results in publication in prestigious scholarly journals or presentations at professional conferences.
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Founded in 1819, Centre College is ranked among the U.S. News top 50 national liberal arts colleges. Consumers Digest ranks Centre No. 1 in educational value among all U.S. liberal arts colleges. Centre alumni, known for their nation-leading loyalty in annual financial support, include two U.S. vice presidents and two Supreme Court justices. For more, visit http://www.centre.edu/web/elevatorspeech/
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