Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Departmental Honors


Sociology, Social Work, and Anthropology


Research of emotional expressions has suggested that facial expressions of emotions are universal between cultures (Ekman, 1989). However, because of in-group biases, misidentification of emotions in other races can predictably occur. The misidentification of facial expressions of emotions can lead to predictable and specific racial biases. One important instance of this is that groups of White individuals often make the error of perceiving anger in an African American who is actually experiencing fear. This has important implications of accidental discrimination. The current study aimed to determine whether a brief training in accurate identification of various facial expressions would improve accuracy in identifying expressions between races and decreasing the anger-race bias in African Americans. A total of X students from two upper-division social work classes participated in both baseline and post surveys at the beginning and end of a single class period. The experimental group received a seven-minute training on accurately identifying traits of both fear and anger. Results indicate that the training was generally effective in increasing accuracy of identifying facial expression of fear and anger. Results also indicate that training resulted in a lower rate of misidentified anger or fear, including across races. Based on the results, it can be concluded that a training in the accurate identification of emotions may be beneficial to decreasing the anger-race bias against African American individuals.

Included in

Social Work Commons



Faculty Mentor

Jessica Lucero

Departmental Honors Advisor

Terry Peak

Capstone Committee Member

Crissa Levin