August 8, 2009

Psychologists Available to Discuss Bias and Law Enforcement

Gates-Crowley incident draws attention to different interpretations of intent

WHAT: Psychologists who specialize in studying and explaining the foundations of bias – whether based on race, gender, sexual orientation or other characteristics – are available to talk to reporters during the 117th Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association, Aug. 6-9, 2009.

WHO: Lorraine W. Greene, PhD, Executive Staff and Manager, Behavioral Health Services Division, Metropolitan Nashville and Davidson County Police. Dr. Greene has studied both community member and police officer perceptions on racial profiling and other biased-based policing within Nashville. Her department has developed a unique interactive training initiative that combines participants from the police department and the community. Police department representatives, police unions/professional organizations and a diverse cross-section of community members participated in the design of the research and actual training intervention. This initiative has been recognized by the U.S. Department of Justice as one of the best in the nation for police integrity.

John Dovidio, PhD, Professor, Yale University. Dr. Dovidio has studied issues of social power and social relations, both between groups and between individuals. His work explores both conscious (explicit) and unconscious (implicit) influences on how people think about, feel about and behave toward others based on group membership. He has conducted research on “aversive racism,” a contemporary subtle form of prejudice, and on techniques for reducing conscious and unconscious biases.

Derald Wing Sue, PhD, Professor, Teachers College, Columbia University. Dr. Sue has written extensively on how people – especially white people – can become aware of how their thoughts, actions and feelings reflect biases. He provides specific suggestions of how to eliminate racist thinking and behavior.

WHERE: By Appointment:
Email Lorraine Greene, Ph.D. or (615) 830-0711
Email John Dovidio, Ph.D. or (860) 933-3905
Email Derald Wing Sue, Ph.D. or Intercontinental Toronto Centre, (416) 597- 1400 (Aug. 5-9)

BACKGROUND: The recent arrest of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates by a Cambridge, Mass., police officer has highlighted how issues of race and class can affect interactions between law enforcement and civilians. Psychologists can help untangle the complicated factors that impact these relationships.

The American Psychological Association, in Washington, D.C., is the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States and is the world’s largest association of psychologists. APA’s membership includes more than 150,000 researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants and students. Through its divisions in 54 subfields of psychology and affiliations with 60 state, territorial and Canadian provincial associations, APA works to advance psychology as a science, as a profession and as a means of promoting health, education and human welfare.