EPR: A Theory of Prejudice Reduction and Support for Racial Policies


This paper develops Engagement, Perspective-Taking, and Recalibration (EPR), a theory of prejudice reduction and support for racial policies. I argue that interventions using engagement to encourage perspective-taking reduce prejudice and recalibrate the subject’s emotional orientation toward an out-group. Using EPR, I develop an intervention to reduce prejudice toward African Americans and increase support for racial equity policies. The intervention encourages individuals to adopt the perspective of a Black man who experiences prejudice and make choices how to respond. Using an experiment in which 1,261 adults completed either the treatment or a placebo task, I find that the intervention significantly reduces prejudice, with the largest effects among those with the highest baseline animus. Reducing prejudice increases support for policies aimed at helping Black people. These results provide insight into the nature of prejudice and its impact on racial policies, and offers a low-cost intervention to increase tolerance.