2022-23 Department of Psychology Colloquium Series/Rising Star Speaker Series -- Dr. Gorana Gonzalez (Univ of MA)


2022-2023 Psychology Department
Rising Star Colloquium Speaker Series


Gorana Gonzalez
(Doctoral Candidate, University
of Massachusetts, Amherst)

Race, Racism, Kids, and Police: Investigating Young Children’s
Beliefs about Police Interactions with Peers

Biased policing disproportionately impacts the Black community; the extent to which children are aware of this fact, however, is empirically unknown. Young children are skilled at integrating complex, social information to make inferences about others, thus making it possible that young children, prior to adolescence, are attuned to the increased risk Black and biracial Black people incur when encountering the police. This study investigates whether children hold different expectations about whether their White, Black, and biracial Black/White peers would choose to interact with a police officer during a time of need, and how those expectations are shaped by the child’s own racial identity and racial and legal socialization. To examine these questions, children between the ages of 5 and 12 (N~ 288) will be told a story where a Black, White, or biracial peer could use assistance, and will be asked whether that peer will solicit assistance from a White male officer. We predict that participants will expect White peers, as compared to Black and biracial peers, to be more likely to solicit assistance from a police officer, that this pattern will be stronger among Black and biracial participants, and that this pattern will strengthen with age. Results from this study can expand our understanding of children’s racialized expectations of how others behave, provide information to guide parents in teaching their children how to safely interact with the police, and inform policy and practices in Departments of Public Safety and Police Departments.

Friday, March 31, 2023
390 Gilmer Hall

The Rising Star Speakers are a series of talks organized by a graduate student-led committee
which identifies early career scholars (those who are currently in graduate school or in their first
year of their postdoctoral fellowship) who are doing incredibly impressive, cutting-edge research.

Time and Location: 
1:30pm, Gilmer 390
Friday, March 31, 2023
"Race, Racism, Kids, and Police: Investigating Young Children’s Beliefs about Police Interactions with Peers"