Colloquium Series Lecture

Beyond “racist people”: How beliefs about the malleability of prejudice impact the emergence of interracial tension in children

Kristin Pauker, Ph.D.
Associate Professor | Psychology Department | University of Hawaii

Tuesday, February 23, 2021 • 4:00-5:00pm Remote/Virtual viewing at

Interracial interactions are often stressful for both Whites and racial minorities, even among children. Yet we know surprisingly little about when and why tensions in interracial interaction emerge in childhood, and even less about how to mitigate such tensions. I examine the onset of experienced tension in children’s interracial interactions to develop a deeper understanding of its psychological origins, and in turn, the type of intervention that may be best-equipped to improve the quality of interracial interactions. In a series of studies with diverse samples of 9-12-year-olds, I explore when children start to exhibit anxiety surrounding the topic of race and whether children’s conceptions of racial prejudice itself—in terms of whether it is a fixed or malleable characteristic—may be a critical factor shaping their willingness to engage in and the quality of their interracial interactions. This line of research provides insights into the types of interventions that could be developed to alleviate racial tensions and illustrates how cultural messages about prejudice (often as fixed) can contribute to interracial tension.

More information.

Tuesday, February 23 at 4:00pm to 5:00pm


Event Type

Lectures & Presentations

Target Audience




Psychology Department
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