Date of Award

Spring 2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Chairperson

Ellie Brown, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Angela Clarke, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Lia O'Brien, Ph.D.


Studies on racial bias highlight disparities in negative judgments faced by People of Color (Hinton, 2017) as compared to their White counterparts, and some disparities may be apparent even in childhood. The present study employed an experimental design to examine the impact of child race on participant judgments of child behavior based on brief observations. Students participated and were randomly assigned to one of two conditions involving brief video observations. In the first condition, the target child was Black and in the second, the target was White. Targets were matched in terms of age, socioeconomic status, and expert-rated level of problem behavior. After watching the brief video, participants provided ratings of child behavior using the Conners Teacher Rating Scale- Revised (CTRS-R). A MANCOVA that included participant demographic covariates indicated a statistically significant impact of condition on behavior ratings. Univariate tests and descriptive statistics suggested that the ratings of participants who viewed a Black child were higher for overall problem behavior and for oppositional behavior. The covariate of participant race/ethnicity also statistically predicted ratings, with Black/African American status predicting lower overall problem behavior ratings. Implications concern understanding the impact of implicit racial biases for Children of Color, and furthering efforts to end racism and promote social justice.