Empathy, Perspective-Taking and the Mere Exposure Effect: Understanding Adolescent Attitudes About Sexual Minorities and Reducing Prejudice Against Sexual Minority Youth
Adrienne Mundy-Shepard

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Dissertation Fellowship

Award Year



Harvard University

Primary Discipline

Educational Policy
Lesbian, gay, bisexual and questioning (LGBQ) youth are at heightened risk for a number of negative outcomes based on the discrimination they face because of their sexual orientation. LGBQ youth of color are at even greater risk because of the potentially higher rates of anti-LGBQ bias within communities of color. One step to improve outcomes for these youth is to design interventions aimed at reducing prejudice against sexual minorities, and to assess how well these interventions work with adolescents. I intend to experimentally test the effectiveness of two interventions that may be especially promising because they require little time and expense, but have the potential to significantly improve school climate. The first intervention engages students in one-on-one discussions in order to develop empathy and perspective-taking towards sexual minorities. The second intervention, based on research indicating that multiple exposures to a stimulus increases a subject?s liking for that stimulus, involves repeated exposures to a questionnaire in order to increase participants? acceptance of sexual minorities. I hypothesize that students who participate in the interventions will show increased tolerance for homosexuality and gender non-conformity compared to those students who did not participate in one of the interventions.
About Adrienne Mundy-Shepard

Pin It on Pinterest