Calvin Lai, assistant professor of psychological and brain sciences in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, has received a $230,000 grant from the Templeton World Charity Foundation. With an interdisciplinary team of researchers, Lai will examine the long-term efficacy of a new intervention program that will use empathy to promote social justice. The team includes Micah J. Wonjoon Kessel, a design strategist; Lisa Feldman Barrett, president of the Association for Psychological Science; Jennifer Beatty, a doctoral student in Lai’s lab; and Ashley Tudder, a postdoctoral research associate in Lai’s lab.
Existing programs to combat prejudice are often limited in their effectiveness. Lai and his collaborators hope to change that trend by using evidence-based practices to engage with participants’ emotional and cognitive understanding. They created a series of films in which people from marginalized communities share their experiences with discrimination and inequality. The goal is to give participants tools to understand others’ perspectives with more empathy.
Read more from The Ampersand.