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Labs & Research

in the Cognitive, Linguistics, and Psychological Sciences Department

at Brown University

R.I.S.E. Lab

The R.I.S.E. lab investigates preferences and perceptions of group inequality. 

How do people differ in their preferences for group inequality? Historically, psychological research has focused on understanding the attitudes of majority group members and how they impact minority group members. Our lab takes a different approach: we analyze minority group members’ preferences for group inequality and how this impacts their attitudes towards 1) majority groups, 2) their minority group, 3) other minority groups, and 4) social institutions.

How does a person’s perception of their social environment maintain and legitimize inequalities between groups? Our lab examines how people ascribe meaning to group differences in outcomes such as algorithmic bias, standardized assessment scores, and performance evaluations. Decisions derived from each of these methods can impact bail decisions, health diagnoses, promotions, or justify tracking individuals toward exclusive opportunities. We investigate how both decision algorithms and performance assessments can become biased, as well as systematic patterns in people’s narratives about standardized tests and what they can tell us about inequality. 

Principal Investigator: Dr. Malik Boykin

Causality and Mind Lab

The lab researches how children represent and learn causal relations, make causal inferences, and how they understand their own and others’ mental states. We use both behavioral and computational approaches to study how children learn. 

Young children are naturally curious. Children’s museums are a great arena to examine children’s curiosity in how they explore the world and generate and understand explanations. We are investigating how children’s and parents’ explanations and explorations of museum exhibits relate to their STEM learning and engagement (sponsored by this grant from NSF). We are interested in how aspects of parents’ interaction with children relate to their STEM engagement and learning in informal settings. 

Principal Investigator: Dr. Dave Sobel

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