The National Science Foundation (NSF) recently awarded Jackson State University researchers a $350,000 EAGER grant to support untested, “high- risk” exploratory research that potentially may yield a “high payoff.”
One early-stage study involves exploring serious consequences that result from possible bias by police against unarmed African- Americans.
This research is led by Dr. Byron D’Andra Orey, professor in the Department of Political Science, and Dr. Yu Zhang, former assistant professor in the Department of Criminal Justice, both in the College of Liberal Arts. Orey and Zhang are using surveys and measures of biases and physiological responses to determine whether police officers with negative subconscious prejudice are likely to commit crucial errors resulting in shootings of unarmed African-Americans.
Findings from the study will be shared with law enforcement agencies to assist in recruitment practices and with developing community policing policies and tactics.
Another study earning grant funding examines young children’s acquisition and development of African-American English (AAE). Dr. Brandi Newkirk-Turner, associate professor in JSU’s Department of Communicative Disorders in the School of Public Health, is working collaboratively with researchers from the University of Massachusetts.
Their findings will be used to describe how normal variation associated with child AAE is systematically different from “disordered language.” Results of the study are expected to help develop more accurate cultural and linguistic appropriate assessment tools and outcomes for AAE-speaking children.