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Andrew Meltzoff co-authors Developmental Psychology article on how parents' conversational approaches to BLM differ by race

A new study from a research team at University of Washington and Northwestern University analyzes how parents' conversational approaches to the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement differ by race. UW Psychology professor and Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences co-director Andrew Meltzoff, was a co-author. 

The research, recently published online in Developmental Psychology, showed that 84% of Black parents and 76% of white parents spoke to their 8- to 11-year-old children about BLM within a year of the 2020 murder of George Floyd. However, the research revealed key differences in the language parents used to explain BLM. While 78% of Black parents affirmed Black lives and acknowledged systemic racism, only 35% of white parents reported similar messaging.

“Parents wonder when it’s appropriate to talk with their children about race and what’s the most helpful thing to say. We looked at the strategies taken by hundreds of parents across the country. Parents can teach us a lot about how to have conversations about race — not only with children but among ourselves,” says Meltzoff.

Dr. Onnie Rogers (Northwestern University) is the lead author. Other study co-authors were David Chae, associate professor at Tulane University; Katharine Scott, assistant professor at Wake Forest University; Northwestern research assistants Chiara Dorsi and Finn Wintz; and Sarah Eisenmann, now a behavioral research coordinator at Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago.

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