Prejudice Reduction: Progress and Challenges

Elizabeth Levy Paluck, Roni Porat, Chelsey S. Clark, Donald P. Green

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

258 Scopus citations


The past decade has seen rapid growth in research that evaluates methods for reducing prejudice. This essay reviews 418 experiments reported in 309 manuscripts from 2007 to 2019 to assess which approaches work best and why. Our quantitative assessment uses meta-analysis to estimate average effects. Our qualitative assessment calls attention to landmark studies that are noteworthy for sustained interventions, imaginative measurement, and transparency. However, 76% of all studies evaluate light touch interventions, the long-term impact of which remains unclear. The modal intervention uses mentalizing as a salve for prejudice. Although these studies report optimistic conclusions, we identify troubling indications of publication bias that may exaggerate effects. Furthermore, landmark studies often find limited effects, which suggests the need for further theoretical innovation or synergies with other kinds of psychological or structural interventions. We conclude that much research effort is theoretically and empirically ill-suited to provide actionable, evidence-based recommendations for reducing prejudice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)533-560
Number of pages28
JournalAnnual review of psychology
StatePublished - Jan 4 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Psychology


  • anti-bias
  • anti-racism
  • diversity training
  • interventions
  • meta-analysis
  • randomized control trials


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