Current Projects

Examining Racism with Virtual Reality

Achieving racial justice requires understanding racism. This project uses immersive virtual reality (IVR) to create a “virtual shoes” experience through which a participant can viscerally embody an avatar who encounters various forms of racism.

We are examining effects of this immersive virtual environment (IVE) on changes in acute physiological functioning (e.g. heart rate, heart rate variability, blood pressure) and psychological processes, including empathy/social perspective taking, racial bias and decision making. This project builds on previous studies, in which we have examined how virtual reality can induce in empathy for people different from oneself.

Funded by a Magic Grant from the Brown Instituten for Media Innovation, we are working with Jeremy Bailenson and his team from the Stanford's VHIL.

Racial Stress Study

This laboratory experiment examined the effects of media-based cultural racism (e.g. vicarious exposure to police brutality, disparaging media coverage) on physiological, emotional, behavioral and cognitive stress responses. We are now in the process of analyzing data and preparing various manuscripts from these data.

Black Face to Ferguson: A Mixed Methodological Examination of Media Racism, Media Activism and Health

This project utilizes big data analytics to estimate the prevalence of media-based racism and media activism, focusing initially on events surrounding police brutality and related social activism efforts.

Race and Cardiovascular Health Study

This study draws on stress process and biopsychosocial models to understand the role of psychological and endocrinological factors in altering associations between chronic stress exposure and race-specific prevalence and odds of maintaining favorable cardiovascular health (FCVH) across time.