Hostname: page-component-cd4964975-g4d8c Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2023-03-29T20:45:05.223Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "useRatesEcommerce": false } hasContentIssue true

Missing context from experimental studies amplifies, rather than negates, racial bias in the real world

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  13 May 2022

Leland Jasperse
Department of English Language and Literature, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL60637, USA,
Benjamin S. Stillerman
Department of Psychology, New York University, New York, NY10003, USA,
David M. Amodio
Department of Psychology, New York University, New York, NY10003, USA, Department of Psychology, University of Amsterdam, 1001NKAmsterdam, Netherlands.,


We agree with Cesario's premise but reject his conclusion: Although experimental studies of racial stereotyping, weapons perception, and shoot decisions typically exclude real-world contextual factors and thus have limited relevance to race disparities (e.g., in policing), these excluded factors comprise systemic, institutional, and individual-level biases that are more likely to amplify racial disparities than negate them.

Open Peer Commentary
Copyright © The Author(s), 2022. Published by Cambridge University Press

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)


Amodio, D. M. (2015). Prejudiced? Me? New Scientist 227:2627.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Amodio, D. M., & Swencionis, J. K. (2018). Proactive control of implicit bias: A theoretical model and implications for behavior change. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 115(2):255275.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Browne, S. (2015). Dark matters. Duke University Press.Google Scholar
Cooper, F. R. (2018). A genealogy of programmatic stop and frisk: The discourse-to-practice circuit. University of Miami Law Review 73(1), 1–78.Google Scholar
Correll, J., Wittenbrink, B., Park, B., Judd, C. M., & Goyle, A. (2011). Dangerous enough: Moderating racial bias with contextual threat cues. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 47:184189.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Darley, J. M., & Gross, P. H. (1983). A hypothesis-confirming bias in labeling effects. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 44(1):2033.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Dovidio, J. F., & Gaertner, S. L. (2000). Aversive racism and selection decisions: 1989 and 1999. Psychological Science 11(4):315319.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Fiske, S. T., & Neuberg, S. L. (1990). A continuum of impression formation, from category-based to individuating processes: Influences of information and motivation on attention and interpretation. Advances in Experimental Social Psychology 23:174.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Gelman, A., Fagan, J., & Kiss, A. (2007). An analysis of the New York city police department's “stop-and-frisk” policy in the context of claims of racial bias. Journal of the American Statistical Association 102(479), 813–823.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Goel, S., Rao, J. M., & Shroff, R. (2016). Precinct or prejudice? Understanding racial disparities in New York city's stop-and-frisk policy. The Annals of Applied Statistics 10(1):365394.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Gordon, D. (2020). The police as place-consolidators: The organizational amplification of urban inequality. Law & Social Inquiry 45(1):127.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Harring, S. L. (2000). The Diallo verdict: Another “tragic accident” in New York's war on street crime? Social Justice 27(1), 9–18.Google Scholar
Hurwitz, J., & Peffley, M. (2005). Playing the race card in the post-Willie Horton era: The impact of racialized code words on support for punitive crime policy. Public Opinion Quarterly 69(1):99112.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Jasperse, L., & Stillerman, B. (2021). Beyond bias: The case for an abolitionist psychology. Los Angeles Review of Books.Google Scholar
Moss-Racusin, C. A., Dovidio, J. F., Brescoll, V. L., Graham, M. J., & Handelsman, J. (2012). Science faculty's subtle gender biases favor male students. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 109(41):1647416479.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Nonko, E. (2016). Redlining: How one racist, depression-era policy still shapes New York real estate. Brick Underground.Google Scholar
Rhodes, J., & Brown, L. (2019). The rise and fall of the “inner city”: Race, space and urban policy in postwar England. Journal of Ethnic & Migration Studies 45(17):32433259.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Southerland, V. (2020). The intersection of race and algorithmic tools in the criminal legal system. Maryland Law Review 80(3), 487–566.Google Scholar
Stoudt, B. G., Fine, M., & Fox, M. (2011). Growing up policed in the age of aggressive policing policies. New York Law School Law Review 56:13311370.Google Scholar
Worden, R. E., McLean, S. J., Engel, R. S., Cochran, H., Corsaro, N., Reynolds, D., … Isaza, G. T. (2020). The impacts of implicit bias awareness training in the NYPD.Google Scholar