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Renowned social psychologist Jennifer Eberhardt explains the 'other race effect'

Lara O'Reilly
Executive Producer

Professor Jennifer Eberhardt is an award-winning Stanford University social psychologist whose groundbreaking work centres around race and inequality.

Much of her research has focused on what’s known as the “other race effect” — a phenomenon where people are better at recognising faces from their own race than those of others.

Speaking on Yahoo Finance UK’s Global Change Agents with Lianna Brinded show, Eberhardt gave a real-world example of the phenomenon playing out.

Watch the full Dr. Jennifer Eberhardt Global Change Agents interview here

In 2014, there was an “alarming spike in crime” in the Chinatown neighbourhood of Oakland, California. The police department there found young black men were deliberately robbing middle-aged Chinese women because the perpetrators knew they would be difficult to identify by their victims in a police lineup.

Researchers have known about the “other race effect” for around 50 to 60 years, according to Eberhardt.

“You can see this in all the cultures and all different countries and so forth, so it seems to be a pretty widespread phenomenon,” she said.

The Oakland Police Department worked to tackle the problem by installing more security cameras in the area, “so the cameras could actually do what the women could not, which was [to] identify who was at the root of these crimes,” Eberhardt said.

Global Change Agents with Lianna Brinded explores the stories of some of the most inspirational women across business, tech, and academia. Catch up on all the latest episodes here.