New research by a team including School of Education professor reveals a link between color-conscious racial attitudes and altruistic behaviors
Irvine, Calif., January 23, 2024 – A new first-of-its-kind study by a team of researchers, including UC Irvine School of Education Professor Gustavo Carlo, reveals that color-conscious racial attitudes are connected to better understanding and sympathizing with people from different racial backgrounds, particularly in times of high stress.
“Even during a global pandemic, people who are color-conscious about racial problems in our society are still most likely to assist others, whom they consider different than themselves, when they are in need of help. Conversely, if they have a color-blind racial attitude, they are less likely to help,” Carlo shared about the study’s findings.
The “Understanding Links Between Pandemic-Related Racial Attitudes and Out-Group Prosocial Behaviors” study, led by University of New Mexico (UNM) Associate Professor Alexandra N. Davis, was published in The Journal of Genetic Psychology. It examined the propensity of young adults to altruistically help outgroup members during the COVID-19 pandemic based on color-conscious and color-blind racial attitudes.
“The study speaks to the importance of emphasizing and nurturing color-conscious attitudes in our students and incorporating teaching and curriculum efforts towards that end to foster social harmony and to reduce intergroup conflict – especially under stressful and challenging circumstances,” Carlo said.
Alongside Davis and Carlo, the research team included Sahitya Maiya, University of New Hampshire assistant professor; Cara Streit, UNM assistant professor; and Joy Roos, University of Missouri postdoctoral fellow.